How “Doses Of Criticism” Are Like “Doses Of Medicines” Or… The Power Of Analogies

By: Detri McGhee

I like analogies. Taking something I understand well, and showing how it compares to something that may be less understood seems to open my eyes in new ways. When we are trying to make someone understand us, how often do we say, “Well, it’s a little like this…”? The doctor says, “How would you describe the pain?” We may say, “Like a hot poker running through my toe!” Or, “Like an elephant sitting on my chest.”

Well, friends, when I started analyzing criticism, I noticed a lot of ways that criticisms are similar to medications. Can you think of any before I start? Take a moment. Think. How is getting criticized similar to getting medication? I wish you would send me your ideas!

OK. My turn now.

1. The dosage must be administered properly to avoid serious side-effects. (Think Phenergan!)

2. Criticism, like drugs, can be life-giving or life-altering or even life-taking. Like drugs, criticism can be helpful or harmful.

3. Either can be administered by those seeking to help us or those seeking to harm us. They can be administered by friend or foe, or a complete stranger.

4. The wrong dosage can be destructive, no matter how well intended.

5. Just because a drug (criticism) worked well for me doesn’t mean I should give it to you.

It pays to consider the purpose, the abuses, and the potential results of each.

6. Just because someone prescribes it for you doesn’t mean you have to take it. Learn to think for yourself.

7. Even if everyone else seems to be taking that particular dosage, that doesn’t guarantee that joining them will make you a better, healthier person.

Now since we don’t have unlimited time here, I will comment on one, and next time we are together, perhaps we will explore a few others in depth.

#1. The dosage should be administered properly to avoid serious side-effects. (Think Phenergan!) Not only is it crucial that the right amount be given, but it must be taken the right way for maximum benefit. Suppose you have severe upset stomach. Your doctor prescribes Phenergan. You don’t know what a suppository is, and how to administer it….THAT can be a “tough pill to swallow”! Likewise, if we are never taught how to handle criticisms, how to use them for our benefit, when to discard them without letting them enter us in error, then we are likely to allow them to harm us in ways we are not even equipped to realize. When we are young and under the control of others, we tend to do what they say without question. When we are “young” in criticism management wisdom, we may well do the same. We may get criticism and let it incapacitate us, change our resolve, re-define our goals or completely derail our path because we take to heart criticism that we should deal with in other ways.

For example: When I was in my late 20s I became aware of how public speaking could be a fascinating and lucrative profession. I mentioned it to my husband. He immediately objected. Ridiculous idea! I listened to him. A few years later, the school had a motivational speaker who impressed him (she was young and cute, I later discovered). He found out they had paid her thousands of dollars for that 2-hour workshop and announced to me: “You could do that even better than her! Why haven’t you ever considered that?” I had let his casual criticism of my idea let me dismiss it as a possibility. I so wish I had known then what I know now!

This incident proves I was, at least back then, a woman in great control of body and tongue. I did NOT hit or yell. Yea, ME! I will confess, just between us, that even now I don’t do quite as well with my inner thoughts because I still want to hit and yell when I think about it. Send me your thoughts! Facebook: Criticism Management by Detri.

By: Detri McGhee

Certified Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Counselor