Do you know anyone who needs improving upon? Maybe someone who needs a change of attitude? How about someone who isn’t doing something correctly, the way you and I know it should be done? Don’t you find people who don’t live up to our expectations and standards annoying?
Those last two questions were asked tongue in cheek, or course.
How many times a day do you find yourself criticizing others? Oh, maybe you don’t mean to. Maybe you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Maybe it’s just a habit that you’ve gotten yourself into.
We’re all guilty of it I hate to say. Try and think how many times you’ve criticized someone over the past week.
If you’re having a hard time thinking of someone, let me throw you a bone. Have you complained or said anything negative about your boss, spouse, children, another driver, a politician, your neighbor, a customer, a friend, a checker at the store, someone in your church, a fellow employee, or anyone else you’ve been in contact with this the past week?
If not, you are truly an exceptional person, and I congratulate you.
If you have on the other hand, you are a part of the majority, unfortunately.
So why do we do it? Why do we speak negatively of others? Does it help? Does it usually improve the situation? Does it in any way help the person your criticizing, or is it just a means to vent frustration and anger?
We’ve all heard the old adage; if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
I think that’s sound wisdom, and would improve the quality of all our lives. It would also go a long way to improving our relationships and interactions with others.
Think about a time when you were criticized. Now I’m not talking about constructive criticism brought in a nurturing or constructive way, I’m talking about someone chewing you out or being harsh with you. It doesn’t feel good, does it? And let me ask you, did it make you want to change or do better; or did it make you resentful and possibly defiant?
I personally don’t like being criticized; it makes me feel angry and defiant. If someone has a problem with me or the way I’ve done something, I have no problem with them talking to me about it. I welcome constructive criticism, which we all should.
But, if they’re venting while pointing something out, we have a whole different ball game. I know we’re supposed to be humble and turn the other cheek; I am still working on that one. 🙂
Learning not to criticize others, it’s like learning anything else. It starts with becoming aware of what you need to learn, then making a plan to learn it.
I would say a good place to start would be asking for some divine help. Believe me; God would be more than happy to help us with this particular problem.
Can you imagine if God was critical of us every time we messed up? Can you imagine if God treated us like we treat those we’re being critical of? Yikes, we’d be in trouble!
If we want to stop criticizing others, we need to make an effort to do so. We need to exercise character and self-control. Now, I’ll admit that it’s much easier to complain or criticize than forgive and overlook things. But, we of all people, we should be about the business of forgiving and overlooking offences.
If we would put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we might find ourselves with a whole new perspective on the situation. That’s not always the case, but it often it is. Plus we all have bad days, and that person we’re being critical of could be having a very bad one.
Sometimes, offering someone some encouragement when they are acting in a contrary way might be just the medicine they need to get them to a better place. Isn’t it better to mend fences than to burn bridges?
There is an old saying that goes, “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” I believe there is a lot of truth to that saying.
We all hate when others criticize us, right? What do you say we all learn from that, and make an effort to criticize others less and understand them more?