Inspiration Journal

Constructive Criticism (Which Wolf Will Win?)

Constructive Criticism (Which Wolf Will Win?)
Written by Ranae Aspen

As I sit in my office, feeling completely defeated, I thought about a phrase heard many times and it still results in me having a snarky attitude! 

Constructive Criticism, whatever! 

When this happens I want to let the other person have the true definition of this which is as follows:  “Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.” 

Let me ask you something, when you receive criticism is this the case?  Do you feel improved?  Was it well reasoned and did it involve both positive and negative?  Doubtful!

Wait, hold that thought for a moment.  Our journey of life can dictate how criticism is processed.  In my childhood home, whatever was happening, especially the bad stuff, it was always on me.  By merely existing, I created problems.  This may be because I was the oldest child.   As I sit in my office, feeling defeated, negative and worthless, I cast my thoughts back to long ago and that continuing loop that fed my soul messages that I was less than worthy of anything good happening.  I wonder, do others take their past and project it on the current moment?  Why is it that I can’t just take a varying opinion for its face value?  In part, my personality is such that I wear my heart on my sleeve, so when you combine this with old looped tapes that repeat the message, that “by the way, did you know you are dirtier than the dirtiest dirt?” Combine the two and my “Negative Nellie” side takes over whatever positive vibe I began with that day. 

Our family went to the Movie, Tomorrow Land, the opening scene is a teenage girl asking her Dad which wolf he is going to feed, the pessimistic or the optimistic wolf.  Whichever one you feed is the one that out powers the other.  Wow!  Being the curious person I am I googled that phrase and here is this Native American Cherokee Tale: ( )

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Now back to the beginning!  Really?  Are you going to let the negative out power the positive?  NO!  Take any part of the “criticism” that you can turn into a positive and leave the rest in the trash where it belongs!  This is easier said than done.  This is my que to remember that I am a child of God, I have value and my worth is not in my pay but in the people I help along the way.  So, which wolf will you feed?  Peace and love to you my readers!

About the author

Ranae Aspen

Ranae Aspen graduated from UNL/UNO with her BS in Consumer Science and Education in 1991and with her Masters of Applied Science in Ag Leadership and Community Nutrition from UNL in December of 2012. Ranae has enjoyed careers in the Health Food industry and in the field of Human Services assisting low-income families with self-sufficiency and nutrition.
She and her husband Dan have two children, Daniel, 15 and Leslie 13. Ranae and family live on a small acreage and they are establishing a fruit orchard, they garden. They share their acreage with their dog Sampson, numerous cats and chickens. Life is busy and Ranae’s passion for sustainable agriculture and nutrition is evident with her blog, Eating Healthy in a Tough Economy, h and in her daily life. Julia Child once said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” This describes Ranae, her passion runs deep and she loves to share it with the community.