Correct Me, Please!

Correction can elevate us if the words come with the right intent
By Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli, formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, served on the dance faculty at Butler University in Indianapolis, and is now also a certified personal trainer, and certified Pilates instructor in Indianapolis, IN. She conducts classes, seminars, and workshops in the U.S. and Europe. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance,” available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
October 10, 2021 Updated: October 10, 2021

Andrea believed she had done her best in today’s ballet class. Even so, she couldn’t keep a warm tear from sliding down her cheek because she felt rejected and unnoticed among the twirling hopefuls.

She looked pale and troubled as she gathered her paraphernalia and rushed out the studio door. That one little tear led to a deluge of waterworks as she ran to catch up with Emilia, a fellow student, who was a few feet ahead of her. Between gasps and sobs, she wailed, “Oh no, Mr. Fokine didn’t give me any corrections today!”

She felt her world was collapsing because she didn’t get a correction in class! While that reaction is a bit extreme, it points out that correction is desirable when it is given for the right reasons.

Can you relate? Correction from an instructor or mentor indicates that they notice you and want you to do better next time. Indeed, proper correction is necessary for your growth. It keeps you on the right path and helps you avoid distractions.

Even when your teachers tell you that you are doing something wrong, they correct you to help you get it right. You thrive on those words of correction because they give you hope and encouragement to press on. You receive such correction with gratitude and joy.

That being said, a correction can be contaminated.

No, Not This Way!

There exists a perverted type of correction that accomplishes the absolute opposite effect. It’s probably not right to call it a “correction,” but perhaps rather a “crushing” (my word) as its goal isn’t to build you up but to tear you down.

Has anyone ever told you that you aren’t good enough, not strong enough, or too stupid to do what you are attempting? They can tell you all the reasons why your ideas won’t work. When you hear this over and over, you begin to believe it.

Even though you spend a great deal of energy trying not to internalize the rejection, if unchecked, it ultimately crushes you and causes you to withdraw and stop trying.

Why?

People speak what is in their heart. When those crushing words are spoken, they defile both the speaker and the listener. The spewing of poison from one person onto another is verbal abuse. The person delivering the toxin is likely doing it because of some past hurt or unforgiven event lodged deeply in their heart. They may feel inferior and need to bring the other person down to their level. Harboring these hurts causes them to rot, and then frustration grows and expresses itself in verbal violence.

Is It You?

If that describes you, it’s imperative that you go back and deal with any underlying issues before attempting to correct someone else, such as your child or your spouse. Otherwise, you risk allowing your internal disquiet to amplify itself upon those around you. If you don’t resolve this, you will infect them with the illness of your own heart.

If you truly wish to give life-giving correction, it must be done with a heart of patience, kindness, and good intentions. If there is anger, grievance, or disappointment, your correction is contaminated and will produce “side effects.” Please take inventory of yourself. If you find any such issue, resolve to correct that before attempting to deliver correction to anyone.

If you need counseling to do this, by all means, pursue it.

 

Correcting Crushing
Encourages Discourages
Motivated by love/care Motivated by wrath/unforgiveness
Helps Harms
Lifts up Puts down
Builds confidence Destroys self-esteem
Breeds respect Breeds hatred
Builds bridges Destroys connection

 

 

Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli
Donna Martelli, formerly a professional dancer with the Harkness Ballet of New York, served on the dance faculty at Butler University in Indianapolis, and is now also a certified personal trainer, and certified Pilates instructor in Indianapolis, IN. She conducts classes, seminars, and workshops in the U.S. and Europe. She is the author of “When God Says Drop It” and “Why the Dance,” available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.