Awareness. ACCEPTANCE. Action: A Strategy for Handling Criticism

As those of you know who have done any 12 Step work, a certain amount of emphasis is placed on the 3 A’s: Awareness, Acceptance, Action.

The aspect they speak about most in meetings is that too often we move from Awareness to Action without first working through Acceptance.

Often, this is when disaster strikes.

Why am I writing about this today? Because I had the opportunity to pretend to incorporate acceptance—and then to actually incorporate it—earlier this week.

What happened was that I was (gasp!) criticized by a client.

Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it difficult to cope with criticism.

(If I’m honest, my first reaction to being criticized is often too look around to see if there’s anyone or anything else to whom I can assign blame…I recognize this is not an attractive personality trait. ) 

Thankfully, I do know this aspect of myself, and so—exercising super human self control—I kept my mouth shut.

This was my pretend acceptance. Having been made aware of the situation, I did nothing. I took no action. (OK, I might have called my gossip buddy and told him about all the other people who were more deserving of blame…but that’s it.)

24 hours later, I was willing to actually accept there might—just possibly– be a tiny bit of validity to my client’s remarks. Thanks to my cooling off period, aka “acceptance”, the actions I’m ready to take are likely to be more effective.

On the off chance that you, too, sometimes struggle with how you respond to criticism, I invite you to incorporate the 3 A’s.  My hope is that they offer you a chance to take more effective action.