How do you know if your criticism is actually constructive?

Criticism, constructive versus destructive

Question:  How do you know when your criticism is actually “constructive,” rather than “destructive?”

Next question:  And if you offer me some, to make me better, of course, may I also offer you some?

Destructive criticism is, among other things:

  • Hurtful or humiliating, especially if done publicly or behind some one’s back
  • Manipulative and controlling
  • Laying blame or creating guilt
  • Very self-serving for the critic (my wants, my needs, the way I want to see it, I’m disappointed, made my life harder, etc)
  • Attention-getting: look how much I know about your job/performance/life/business
  • Bad timing, just “telling it like it is” when it is right for the critic, not the receiver.  This is in horribly bad taste.


Constructive Criticism is more like:

  • Helpful in making us aware or improved
  • Expressing concern and caring because we have the same goals and are both working toward a common outcome.
  • Keeping open or re-opening communication that has been clogged up because of relationship.
  • To clear the air when things have felt funky.  Get together and get clarification for peace, for unity, for an ongoing future relationship.
  • Motivates us to do better, go the next mile, improve and keep getting better (think of Jesus with the Woman at the well; when He exposed her sin, He did it to set her free and she brought the whole town to Him!)

Last question:  Should I say, “I am going to give you some constructive criticism,” or do you think the recipient of it knows the difference when I am through? 

Stuff I actually think…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Speak words of life regardless of how much some one has messed up.  Like they don’t already get that usually??

Mary Kay Asher of Mary Kay Cosmetics fame always said that criticism was stacked between 2 big compliments in her company, which is why a lot of women probably don’t mind driving pale pink cars, you know?


Not sure how I feel about the tomatoes representing the criticism in this image???

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