The Man Bible 8: Enjoy Your Friends’ Criticism

A man’s capacity to receive another man’s direct criticism is a measure of his capacity to receive masculine energy.  If he doesn’t have a good relationship to masculine energy (e.g., his father), then he will act like a woman and be hurt or defensive rather than make use of other men’s criticism.  – David Deida

Ok… I can’t say I can subscribe to the last portion of that sentence.  The ability to take or not take criticism is not necessarily a feminine or masculine quality.  I know women who can both dish it out and take a well thought out critique of something she does or believes.  However, I do respect the premise of the principle – that iron sharpens iron and a man needs other men who can give him an honest and frank take on his life. 

Every man needs an inner circle… a board of directors whom he respects that can give him the straight skinny – no compromise on important ideas and decisions he may make.  This can prevent a great mistake in his life.  This reminds me of a scripture that says:

Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.  Proverbs 11:14

Of course one has to make sure the person he is getting counsel from has some sense is not a moron devoid of wisdom!  And this does not necessarily mean that a friend’s advice is always accurate or on point for every major decision a man makes.  A man has to be responsible for making his own decisions and living with the results.  The point is that a wise man will seek counsel to get a perspective that he may not see through his own blind spots.  This is essential to making the best decision possible. 

Now, the best way to deal with criticism, is to first listen to it completely.  Then take some time to identify if it’s true completely or in part.  If it is then it’s best to man up and admit it – the sooner the better.  Denial is not just a river in Africa, it also slows a good man down to live in his own fantasy world while reality is kicking him in the ass.  If the criticism is not valid and your way passes the smell test – then you can feel good about your direction with even more confidence.  Of course if your respected and wise friends agree with you – you can probably rest assured you are on point. 

Either way – Pride comes before a fall.   The humble will ask for help so that a light can be beamed on the whole situation, illuminating the path that leads to life. 

Peace

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