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An emotionally mature person knows how to admit mistakes and can accept criticism with grace
and humility. Emotionally mature people listen to criticism and ask themselves if what they are
hearing is true. They do not get defensive or angry when someone doesn't say what they want to
hear. Often, the way a person is brought up plays a huge part in determining whether or not a
person can handle criticism.
People who are placed on a pedestal when they are young will believe they can do no wrong and
will have a difficult time when anyone criticizes them. At the other end of the spectrum, people
who are raised in an environment where they were constantly criticized when they were young
will also have a very tough time when anyone criticizes them. Often, people from both types of
environments isolate themselves and ultimately have a real problem being around people for fear
of hearing something that they don't like.
I was brought up in a family where criticism was the rule, not the exception. My mother's
criticism had an extremely cruel edge to it as well. She was an expert at making each one of her
children, including me, feel like a bad person.
When I began my career as a teacher, I was twenty two years old. I was a special education
teacher in a middle school in Plainfield, New Jersey. My class was made up of the toughest, most
violent kids in the school. Their behavior was terrible and I had a tough time controlling the
On one occasion very early in the school year, I was observed by the vice-principal. He came
into my room unannounced and watched me teach for a full hour. My kids were not well
behaved but I didn't think they were as bad as they usually were.
About five days later, my principal sat down with me to go over my performance evaluation. I
was nervous since performance evaluations determined whether or not teachers get rehired.I
knew very well that performance evaluations are designed to point out to the teacher some
strength but mos