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Criticism: General Condemnation or Specific Conviction

One tell-tale sign of an Enneagram One is what’s called an “inner-critic,” a relentless voice inside my head that questions my decisions and makes sweeping pronouncements about my inadequacies. 

Whether or not you relate to this critical inner voice, all of us receive criticism, and many of us wonder what to do with it. Should I pay attention or disregard those thoughts? 

One way to discern whether criticism is worth attending to is to ask whether it represents general condemnation or a specific conviction. For example, the statement, “I’m a terrible mother” is a general condemnation. The statement, “I used a harsh tone with Marilee and need to apologize” is a specific conviction.

Conviction comes from the voice of love and leads to loving repair. Condemnation comes from the voice of lies and leads to shame and isolation. 

So we need to learn how to discern between these two, rebuke the lies of the general condemnation, and recognize the conviction that comes from the voice of love.

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