The celestial buzz is that Virgo is the critic of the zodiac. It’s because of that discerning eye, that Mercurial analysis, that earthy, practical logic.
My first profession was in the theatre where criticism was a regular part of the artistic life. Ego had to be left in the wings while critical words poured forth from the director (and sometimes with asides from the cast and crew). I may have felt that I just gave an award-winning performance only to hear the director say, “What was that?!” Rejection was a part of daily life and I had to develop a tough skin in order to stop taking everything personally and hit the pavement for the next round of auditions.
This type of criticism was almost always constructive, rarely personal. The director’s goal was to make me look as good as possible while improving the overall production. I learned something about the art of performance and when “The Review” came out, I usually fared well.
Learning to take constructive criticism isn’t always easy, but there’s a payoff ~ improvement of character or skill. Suffering at the hands of constant negative criticism is a whole other story. Egos take quite a beating and self-esteem suffers. Nothing is gained. These types of “criticisms” are nothing but verbal attacks and we can choose to accept or refuse them.
There’s Virgo in each of us, and there’s a critic in each of us. How do you handle that critic? Let me stop a moment and say that all Virgos aren’t super-critics. There are no zodiac stereotypes defined here. Criticism is a part of everyone’s life. We’re all critics. Maybe you’re a Virgo who has been told that you’re too critical or “nit-picky.” Maybe you’re a Gemini, or a Pisces, or a Sag who has been told the same thing. It doesn’t matter. The sign isn’t important. The skill of offering and accepting criticism, Virgo’s domain, is.
Here are some pointers on how to offer criticism:
- Look at the whole. If the first words out of your mouth are negative, stop. You may have jumped the gun with the bad news without looking at the whole. Don’t focus solely on a couple of little weeds in what just may be a beautiful garden. “Pour a little water on the weed.” (That’s a line from a song my husband, the Virgo, wrote.)
- Stay detached. If your words are degrading or to put someone down, stop. That’s a personal attack. There’s nothing to be gained by attacking your target. Constructive criticism is meant to improve without judging someone personally. Kindness counts. A lot.
- Understand that some things don’t change. If you’ve offered these same criticisms over and over again, stop. Your target may not be capable of doing things differently. Don’t make them a whipping boy.
A few ways to accept or reject criticism:
- Keep an open mind. There may be something of value there that can help you.
- Don’t let emotion take hold of you. Critics hit you in your Moon. Listen with your Mercury. Analyze the critique. Let the Virgo in you separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Consider the source. Is this someone whose opinion you respect? Are they exemplary in their field or have high standards of quality that you want to emulate?
- The Buddha said that criticism is a gift. We can choose to accept it or reject it. The choice is yours.
If you’re someone who has been listening to a constant stream of “you’re not good enough,” here are some pointers to guide you toward rebuilding your self-esteem.
- They’re not God. Don’t make them one. They’re putting you down to feel superior and control you.
- Ask yourself if it’s true. If it’s a constant negative attack, and no matter how hard you try or how much you improve, they still put you down, it probably isn’t true. It’s an opinion and you’ve bought into it. It’s negative brainwashing.
- Make a written list of everything that’s good about you. That’s not self-aggrandizing. You’re rebuilding your self-esteem. It really is okay to acknowledge your good qualities.