Category Archives: counseling

Coping With Criticism

But none of these things move me …
– Acts 20:24

I Have Nothing to Say to That

I used to react deeply to criticism until I acquired a valuable tool. It is the phrase, “I have nothing to say to that!”

When someone “dumps on us,” criticizes us, or tears us to shreds with angry remarks, we can just look at them with equanimity, and say, “I have nothing to say to that.” This does not mean that we do not listen and take into consideration the ideas that are appropriate. It merely means that we do not allow another person’s feelings to affect us.

Several years ago, my daughter and I were going somewhere and having a friendly conversation. All of a sudden, she began complaining about how terrible I was as a parent, and criticizing everything I ever did, am doing now, or could contemplate doing in the future. Normally, I would be devastated by such an outburst and start defending myself, but this time I did not interrupt her. She finally paused. I asked, “Is there anything else?” She added a few more barbed remarks. I asked once again, “Is there anything else?” “No!” she exclaimed. I waited a moment and then I said, “I have nothing to say to that.” She looked astounded but did not speak again. We rode home in silence.

A few days later, she asked me to drive her to a friend’s house. We rode quite a while without saying anything. Then all at once she turned to me and said, “You are the most wonderful mother a girl could ever hope to have!”

Today, I listen with equanimity to whatever is said to me. If the statement is judgmental, I remind myself that criticism just represents the opinion of another person and may have very little to do with me. I accept what applies and let the rest go.

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister

Stop Those Negative Waves

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Proverbs 25:28

I Stopped!

How can a person be independent, autonomous, and in control of his or her own destiny? Several years ago, our two-year-old baby showed me the answer.

She didn’t want to go to bed and started to cry and fuss. I talked to her calmly and continued changing her into her pajamas. Her crying became louder and louder, rather like a Wagnerian opera. Then suddenly the crying stopped as though it had been cut off with a knife. She smiled through her tears and said, “Mommy, I stopped!”

“Is it possible,” I wondered, “to stop ourselves right in the middle of a self-destructive thought pattern?” Ernest Holmes tells us that our thoughts create our lives. I remembered reading that it is only possible to think one thought at a time. “So,” I silently told myself, “if our thoughts create our lives, and we can think only one thought at a time, if we deliberately change our thought, then our life situation has to change.”

The next day was Christmas and our daughter tripped over one of her toys and bumped her head on the bottom of the piano. She cried as though her heart would break. As I was holding her and kissing the red spot on her forehead, she said in the middle of her tears, “Mommy, remember how I stopped crying yesterday?” I nodded my head. “I stopped again!” And, indeed, she had stopped! The red spot disappeared in five minutes!

I am the master of my fate! I am the captain of my soul! At least once today I will stop when I am aware that a negative thought pattern is creeping in. I will deliberately affirm “God is Love” over and over until the negative thought pattern is forced to retire. And when I do so, I shall hear a small voice whispering gently in my ear, “I stopped!”

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister

God’s Path to Fulfillment

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”
Proverbs 18:13

“Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
John 7:24

I Did It God’s Way

I used to teach in a Learning Center attended by high school dropouts who had decided to return to school to get their diplomas. How I admired them! They’ve been in gangs, gone to prison, ended up in the hospital with gunshot wounds, and had seen that the world is not what they thought. So they were back in school.

I shared the Lab at the Learning Center with another teacher who had classes at night, and I was meticulous about checking supplies in and out. The other teacher however, let the students take them home, and often they were not available when we needed them.

I decided to approach the other teacher on the matter. She was very defensive and ready to fight. I was distraught because some math books which had taken the school two years to acquire had vanished. We talked about the problem, but suddenly I realized that I was so busy trying to assert my point of view, I hadn’t been listening to her at all. I decided to “be still.” What I heard, then, astounded me! The other teacher was not lax as I had thought after all. She loved the students as much as I did and had just wanted to give them an extra opportunity to achieve their goal. And I wanted to make sure they had the books to do so.

The solution to our apparent conflict was in my attitude. Once I realized that we shared the same concern, we were able to begin cooperating for the highest good of all.

Today I am still. I judge not. I listen for the inner voice which guides and guards me, smoothing my path. My way is not the only way. I am traveling a street that has many surprising curves and turns.

The name of this street is: “God’s Way!”

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister