‘The word “criticize” means to condemn, disapprove of, censure, disparage, or pass judgment on. Those are ugly words and they are particularly ugly when criticism is directed toward the people we live with. The worse thing about being critical is that when you go around looking for things to criticize that’s all you’re going to see – things to criticize. If you start looking instead for the beauty in others, you will see only their beauty.
How do you express your opinion?
Let’s say you have an opinion about something. We all do at some point. “Opinion” means judgment but it also means “view” and “attitude.” It’s natural that we are each going to see a variety of ways to do any given thing. It’s what we do with that difference of opinion that matters in our relationship with others.
Can you solve the problem?
In business, the best managers tell you that if you see a problem you need to come to them not just with the problem, but with the way to fix it. Think about that. If you see something that is not exactly the way you’d like to see it, what solution can you offer? That’s huge. If you don’t criticize any situation you don’t have a way to correct, then don’t criticize.
Are you doing your share?
It’s not OK to criticize someone who is doing something if you are not willing to step in and help fix it. The very fact that someone has stepped forward to embrace responsibility, to look for a solution and take action to solve the problem, is wonderful. However big or small the action, they are thinking of others. If you think things should be different, get to work and do your part.
You are heard even if they don’t do it your way
One last thing. Offering a suggestion is one thing. Having it be an idea that others want to do may be something else entirely. Your idea may not be practical or it may not be what the person you are suggesting it to wants to do. Suggesting does not guarantee acceptance of your idea.
What would it feel like to eliminate criticism?
It would be great if we could live in a no-critical zone. Maybe we should have a no-criticism day just to see what it would feel like to look lovingly at all the people in our life for an entire day. We are a community and each of us contributes to the whole. What does your contribution look like? Is it all you’d like it to be?
© 2012 Cara Lumen