Constructive Criticism or Prideful Arrogance?


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I was only trying to help you!

Well if you would have listened to where I was coming from, you would have understood!

I was just telling you the right way!

Are you reading the above quotes, or are you revisiting the above quotes that you have either said or had said to you by another party?  You see, we all like to communicate and we all have a perspective.  But some of us think that we are entitled to communicate our perspective towards one another, at the expense of… well… communication… When this happens, one has to beg to question, are the motives behind the argument more aligned with constructive criticism or prideful arrogance?

Let’s review the difference.

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Constructive criticism occurs in a conversation between people, who are in a conflict.  However, in spite of this conflict, the people involved still manage to be respectful, encouraging, and motivational to the other. The feedback involved is not necessarily intended to persuade the other partner either way, nor is it intended to make a partner feel bad for the perspective that they have chosen.  Rather, it is simply a way for one partner to be able to communicate in an effective manner to the other partner, ways in which this partner is making choices that are undesirable, unhealthy, or counterproductive.  Furthermore, the element of “agreeing to disagree” is ever present, meaning that the receiving partner should be able to disagree with the other, without the burden of feeling any negative emotions tied to the outcome.  In essence, constructive criticism occurs when a partner truly wishes to highlight the flaws of another person, because they care and because they hope to make them a better person.

Now, for an explanation on prideful arrogance.

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Basically, this is when the quotes listed above occur.  A person is communicating their perspective, not to necessarily encourage the other person to become a better person; rather this perspective is being encouraged because the person presenting their perspective holds an unrealistic perspective of themselves that places them above the other.  This scenario is usually seen when their is a relationship of “authority” between two people.  The person “in charge” or the person with prideful arrogance, is somehow under the impression that their perspective is superior to the other, and uses this perspective to oppress or subjugate the other.    The persons sole intent, while sometimes disguised as a means to encourage the other person, is really proposed in some way to feed their own grandiosity and to encourage them to feel as if their perspective is “right” and the other person is “wrong.”  When they sense the slightest opposition from their opponent, they come out fighting for their perspectives and adhere to the concept that they have a right to oppose  their views on others.  Furthermore, prideful arrogance does not include the elements of respect, encouragement, and motivation, as seen in constructive criticism.  In situations of this matter, when the other party is unreceptive to the perspective of the person with the prideful arrogance, that person, then forces their perspective on the other.

Yet, 1 Samuel 2:3 informs us Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.

Hence, a person with prideful arrogance might try to convince the other that their perspective comes from constructive criticism, but Jesus Christ above knows otherwise.

So the next time that you get in that dialogue and you notice that either you or the other person are disagreeing, don’t forget to be mindful of your own self.  Is your motive for your position, truly indicative of constructive criticism, or does it come from some selfish need to exercise prideful arrogance?

Have you experienced either?  If so, tell us about it now!

Communication, Healthy Relationships, Inequality , ,


  1. I must say, I take so called “Constructive Crticism” quite poorly…unless it comes from my own family!
    My Inner Chick recently posted…I Rise I Rise I RiseMy Profile

    • ladyhoodjourney ladyhoodjourney

      Thanks for stopping by… That’s the thing… Do you take constructive criticism poorly, or is it prideful arrogance that you take poorly. When criticism is constructive, you usually want to take it because it shows that the other person cares for you. It’s when it comes across in a condescending and belittling manner that it’s difficult to take. Nonetheless, glad your family does so in a way that’s meaningful for you. Stay blessed and thanks again for stopping by.

  2. i prefer the word ‘critique’ to ‘criticism’ — somehow the former seems to infer a sense of discipline in the matter.

    today, i was in a position where i felt called to offer a critique to someone. the first thing i did was take a moment to say a little prayer and consciously set my ego aside. proceeding after that, i felt confident that i was able to offer loving and helpful information rather than just force my ideas on the other person. she may or may not enjoy what i had to say, the potential benefit remains to be seen.

    i always try to use the ‘sandwich’ technique you described and it has served me well, both personally and professionally, for many years ;-)

    • ladyhoodjourney ladyhoodjourney

      Linda! You gave me something to ponder about… I think that “critique” is more appropriate, but it’s too late to change the title :/! Nonetheless, I loved your feedback and I think that the concept of humility and remaining cognizant of our ego’s is sooooooooo important in our everyday lives… PERFECT feedback! Thank you!

  3. Anonymous

    My supervisor has been providing criticism and though I try and repair the complaint, additional and worse criticisms ensued. Today, he had some feedback from another personal that I work with, another person in a place of power. He asked how he school deliver this information to me since I don’t take his criticism well. He smiled broadly. Do you have any tips for me to take this criticism and keep him from continuing to receive it in this manner?

  4. ladyhoodjourney ladyhoodjourney


    Thank you for your question. If I understand you correctly, you are interested in learning ways to receive criticism from your boss. This can be difficult, especially if there is a power dynamic, because the motives may or may not be genuine. My best advise is to keep things in perspective. If the criticism is truly intended to make the situation better, then it might not be a bad idea to accept it and oblige. However, if your supervisor is on a “power trip,” you might have to do what’s asked (in order to keep your job) but understand that you’re doing it for that reason… not because it’s right. And finally, if your boss is a reasonable person (he may or may not be) you should certainly be able to let him/her know that the criticism is hurtful and take it from there.

    No matter what, criticism is difficult to take. I”m glad you were honest enough to admit that and to seek assistance. I hope that I have been helpful. Good luck and Blessings on your Sacred Journey!


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