Fight the Frump: Critique or Criticism

Fightfrumpbutton_2And, she curled up in my lap and cried and cried. My nine-year old had a rough day and I didn’t know it until around bedtime. Coming home from school, she busied herself with friends and then the TV, avoiding me apparently, though I was too busy to notice until late in the day.

The recess cheerleading coach (read "bossy kid who started her own playground squad and is now telling everyone else what to do or they are OUT") had Laura doing 25 pushups because she couldn’t hold up her part of the pyramid they were attempting.

"I wasn’t concentrating that day." wailed my little pumpkin. "And, then she makes me hold a split for 20 seconds." Wow, this kid is going to be leader and go-getter but right now she’s just a playground bully.

Stepping back a minute, I thought — this kid is just doing what her gymnastics coach does to her when he or she sees a problem. The girl saw that Laura couldn’t hold up the pyramid and therefore prescribed push-ups to strengthen her arms. Maybe this kid will be a doctor. She cleverly saw a problem and set about fixing it. Now, because she is not a coach and has no medical training at the ripe age of 10, I’m not too happy about this little situation but I have to give the kid some credit. SO, I told my daughter that I would 1) call the teacher if it got worse, 2) she could tell the kid NO (easier said than done), or 3) she could do the few pushups that actually would help her arms in her own gymnastics and get stronger for the team. It’s not like it was a hundred or anything. She would have to own that decision but I would be there whatever she decided. This is definitely a situation to watch.

On that note, when you are making a concerted effort to fight the frump, there are three categories of people who surround you:

1)    People who help (fitness trainers, makeup artist, hair stylists, etc)
2)    People who think they are helping (well intentioned people that speak before being spoken to or "specialists" who think one answer fits all)
3)    And people who are no help at all (those who just are way off base in their advice OR tempt you down the wrong path altogether).

When you go asking for help whether at the makeup counter or the Y fitness team, you might get the help you need and then you might not.

When I went to the mall, I came out looking a little like this: Tammy Faye (God rest her soul)

Tammy_faye_bakker_closeup_2005750_7

I had to hurry to the aid of a loving Mary Kay rep to tone down my look and accent my best features with makeup rather than create a mask of goop.

Then there’s the time I went to the Y and had a fitness trainer work with me and the woman was very helpful and gave me numerous tips. BUT, when I went on my own, a very nice and helpful gentlemen gave me a tip to keep my knees from getting extra stress to which a cynical remark formed in my head which fortunately did not reflect in my "Thank you" comment back or my smile. I had to squelch a serious "Who rang your bell, Twinkletoes?"

What is it about unsolicited comments? It is hard enough to take the asked-for advice without arguing and complaining but when people make comments without us asking them, it is really hard to receive them with grace. I was truly grateful for the man’s tip and YET, that cynical attitude just creeps in there in nasty little way sometimes.

For example, I want to be the best cooking demonstrator I can be. Do you think I took my husband critique of my mock performance well? I don’t think so. Now, I was told that trying it out on friends and family is harder than in parties and shows since your loved ones are less careful in their "critiques" BUT . . . . And, he says not to argue if I want advice. What if I AM right? I’m just supposed to sit there and not defend my technique? Alright, moving on.

I guess the most important thing in receiving critiques is to not look at them as criticisms but to take what you need from it and learn and throw out the rest with the leftovers. Sometimes you might be throwing out the whole bag of rotten chicken. Other times, you might be just cutting off the fat to get to the meat. And then there are those stellar times when you can just take it out the package, throw it on the grill and bask in the smell. (Sorry – can you tell I am hungry? – not for criticism so throw me a sweet comment today and I’ll send one back!)

OHHHH, I can’t let a chance to give news from the news today. It would have been from the treadmill today but I have a sick kid so I turned around in the Y parking lot and decided to come home. THIS IS NEWS FROM THE REAL NEWSPAPER! Shock of all shocks. I read the news instead of watching it. On that note, who saw CSI last night?!  Did you see the Mythbusters guys in the background giving thumbs up to Grissom? How fun was that?

News from the News: PA is going to solve its tax problems with slot machines, locals are hocking jewelry to pay for gas and everyone agrees Hillary is a tough person (and other hard hitting news like that rather than the actual issues they are talking about.). Lord, take me home!

Have an awesome beautiful weekend. I am going away where there is no computer, no running water and the bubbling brook by our window lulls to me sleep (when it doesn’t make me pee which sends me up the hill in the middle of the night to the public restrooms) but you will certainly hear more about cabin life as the summer comes so I won’t go into that now. God Bless.

Now go check out Fussypants for more Fight the Frump Friday posts!

 

 

Comments

  1. Joy did SUCH a good job on your makeup! :-) And lol about unsolicited advice. Husbands are good for that, aren’t they? ;-)

  2. Great post, you’re right tho – easier said than done some days.

  3. Criticism from others is always hard to take, even if you asked for it. Why is it we are so quick to criticize those closest to us.

  4. You’re so right – don’t give the advice unless asked, and then think twice before giving it, especially if it’s a family matter! :)

  5. It is ironic that you are writing about critique or criticism. I just wrote my post, analyzing these words.

    I found this quote from Robert Bly, “When it succeeds, criticism informs debate and educates, clarifies the issues and states a position, allowing us to make informed decisions, to be wiser consumers and more ardent and rational proponents for worthwhile efforts.”

    I know he is talking about public critiques, but there is some application for giving personal critiques.

    Receiving personal criticism is often a lot tougher no matter how constructive it is. I have had to toughen my skin and lessen my sensitivity to accept correction or criticism humbly.

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