When Someone Disagrees With or Criticizes You

When Someone Disagrees with or Criticizes You

The following email is the inspiration behind this article:

My husband and I would like to homeschool our children. We have a few years before our oldest reaches school age, but we have talked to some of our family about it.  Most of our family is supportive of our desire to do this, but we have at least one close family member who is not.  He drops not so subtle hints and comments about why he thinks we shouldn’t.  Any advice on how to deal with this?

It’s no fun when someone dislikes the food we put on the table or the color we picked for our bathroom or the person we voted for in the last election or the education we’ve chosen for our children. It happens every day. Someone disagrees with something we have done, are doing, or will be doing in the near future.

How to Avoid Being Disagreed With in One Easy Step

1. Move to an uninhabited island. Alone.

BINGO! Nobody will ever disagree with you again. It’s beautiful.

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago in Facebook Hissy Fits, but basically, as long as you live on planet earth, you’ll need to get used to the fact that lots of people will not agree with your choices. And that’s actually OK. I’m learning this myself right now. I’ve always had a difficult time tolerating the disapproval of others. It’s something I’m intentionally working on this year – as in, I’m literally focusing on this area of my life because it isn’t healthy.

What to THINK When Someone Disagrees with You

Our thoughts matter. In fact, often, it isn’t the circumstances of our lives that do us in; it’s the way we think that makes or breaks us. So when someone disagrees with you or criticizes you for something, here are some logical things to check off in your noggin:

1. Why are they disagreeing with me?

Sometimes the criticism is valid. They see something that you are blind to – and they are trying to help. Is this a person that has a history of loving you and looking out for your best interests? Then you may want to take their criticism seriously. It might initially hurt, but ultimately it will help you grow as a person. And that’s a positive.

Is this a person who has a history of being critical and always trying to “one-up” you? Then take their criticism with a big grain of kosher salt or sea salt or Real salt – or whatever kind you typically use. You get to choose. I won’t criticize.

2. It’s OK if others disagree with me. They’re Wemmicks, like me. They’re not God.

God is big and what He says matters in huge ways. Humans are small and what they say just doesn’t carry the same weight. Tell yourself that until you truly believe it.

3. It’s OK if I disagree with others. I will take responsibility for my own decisions.

That’s maturity. And maturity is good.

What to SAY When Someone Disagrees With You

Sometimes you find yourself sitting at a big table over Thanksgiving dinner, and Uncle Clifford decides that’s the perfect time to let you know you’re a Bozo, a dingbat, AND a class AAA moron for homeschooling your children. As soon as you recover from choking on the cranberry stuffing, you pull yourself together in order to respond in a (hopefully) adult way. What might that response look like? Here are some ideas:

  • Why, thank you, Uncle C for your thoughts on the matter. To each his own, eh?

OR…

  • Well, that’s an interesting perspective, Uncle Cliff. It always amazes me how many opinions there are in the world on all the various subjects. We never run out of topics to discuss. I’d love to know what you think about the orphan situation in Romania?

OR…

  • I know, I know. I’ve got serious issues, don’t I? It will be a miracle of the highest heavens if my kids grow up unscathed. Can you pass those sweet potatoes? They are the BEST!

OR…

  • Uncle Clifford, your concern for our children is really quite incredible. You wouldn’t want to babysit for us next Friday night, would you?

Get my drift? Unless they have a credible reason to put you in the hot spot, you’ve got to NOT CARE. As long as people think their opinion holds any amount of weight with you, they will badger you until the cows come home. Or until you have one. Once people can see that you don’t take them seriously, they will often back off and leave you alone.

The recipe for disarming negative, critical people is a cup of reality with a twist of humor. That’s a twist OF humor. Not twisted humor. (Just thought I’d clarify.) You won’t always be able to think of these things on the spur of the moment, so if you know what the typical hot button topics are in your own circle of friends and relations, prepare yourself in advance.

And get ready to have some fun this holiday season.

 

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “When Someone Disagrees With or Criticizes You

  1. I prefer to simply leave it at “Let’s agree to disagree but I still love you!” No sarcasm. Simply saying we are not going to agree. It disarms the situation and ends it as well so no fights break out :)

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • That’s a PERFECT response. Especially if the people you are talking to have a hard time lightening up and laughing (which is probably more likely with cantankerous folks who enjoy meddling).

      Thank you Janet. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too! :)

  2. When my children were small a friend told me I should give my children more freedom. He said he would pray for them. I thanked him, and told him we could use all the prayer we could get. Then I considered the source and forgot about it. God holds you responsible for the training of your children. Some good advice may come from others… but many people spout out their opinions and go on their merry way… never looking back to see what damage they may have created.

  3. I TOTALLY agree that it is the way we think of situations that makes or breaks it. I would say though, that regardless of who gives us criticism, we should weigh it seriously by the standard of God’s law to determine if it should be accepted or rejected. Those most difficult people could be the best instruments of God to purifying us. And admission of sin is disarming.

  4. Thank you, Natalie for posting on this. I have had family, friends and even dentists and pediatricians (more subtly with the latter), make comments about homeschooling. The last time it was the oral surgeon who was evaluating my son’s teeth for removal. I mentioned that we homeschool and so we can be flexible in our time for the procedure. After finding this out, discussion ensued about homeschooling and he concluded that homeschooling isn’t for everyone and that since my husband was a professional, it was in my children’s DNA that they are doing so well. I think the medical profession is harder to either convince or dissuade. Also, I wonder if some of those who criticize are actually feeling a little guilty that they aren’t or didn’t homeschool their own children. There are also those who don’t want this to be an option because that would require some sort of change in their own thinking about their choices…just some other thoughts. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  5. It’s funny I should read this post after reading a chapter in my book about handling toddler tantrums in public. ;-) Seriously, though, thank you for this post. I hope it reminds people to be more tactful when sharing their opinions (and knowing when to keep them to themselves).

  6. Mother Teresa’s Anyway Poem

    People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
    Forgive them anyway.

    If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
    Be kind anyway.

    If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
    Succeed anyway.

    If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
    Be honest and frank anyway.

    What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
    Build anyway.

    If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
    Be happy anyway.

    The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
    Do good anyway.

    Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
    Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

    You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
    It was never between you and them anyway.

  7. I had family that was against me homeschooling my children. But within a few years they were homeschooling their children too.