Seize upon every opportunity for improvement.
In every relationship, whether platonic, romantic, or professional, inevitably, some aspect of our character or behavior will come into question as needing improvement.
No one is perfect.
We all have things, whether they be personality or performance based, that we can, and even should, improve upon for the sake of the relationship.
When given constructive feedback or even outright criticism, it is important that we do not take it personally, even if it is intended to be, in fact, personal.
This is obviously quite difficult.
Criticism, even when friendly or helpful, can feel like judgement.
It can feel as if we are not good enough, as if all of our efforts are insufficient, and as if there is no hope for us to be liked, loved, or accepted.
We are being asked, or even told, to change, after all.
That rarely, if ever, feels good.
In spite of our feelings, criticism is actually a gift.
It is an opportunity to see ourselves from the outside.
It is an opportunity to be better than we were yesterday.
And, it is an opportunity to be of service in ways we are incapable of with only our own perspective as reference.
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain in self improvement, especially when it is in service to others.
Even if the relationship does not work out, at least we grew because of it, at least we are better because of it, and at least we know that we did our best.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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