You can’t criticize your way to what you want.
You can’t criticize your way to what you want. Not for yourself and not for anyone else.
It turns out that criticism doesn’t work. Like, not at all. Not ever. Not even one little bit. Not even a minuscule amount.
Repeat after me: Criticism Does Not Work!
I would tattoo this on my forehead if I could get back the hours and days of life that I wasted trying to make it work. But I can’t, those times are lost to the winds of time and yours may be too if you keep on criticizing your way out of unwanted situations.
They should’ve inserted this giant truth in the parenting manuals. Or in the education programs. But wait. That’s where they actually show us how it’s done. Parents and teachers rely on criticism to get their points across, and to discipline children into better adults.
No wonder that I picked criticism up as a handy little tool of life. No wonder that I returned to criticism over and over, using it in my work, my relationships and especially in my marriage. And no wonder that it brought me so much suffering. Because It Doesn’t Work.
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Repeat after me: Criticism just doesn’t work.
Wen I was younger – and more foolish in my case – and didn’t know this little truth, I used criticism freely. I was proud of dishing it out. It made me feel important. It made others feel inferior, and because I didn’t know any better, I continued my sad little ways.
When my husband didn’t respond to my criticisms, I would criticize him further, because, I’d tell myself: he’s not a good listener, he doesn’t care about me, he is not attentive enough, etc etc.
Lies, all of them. Ugly damn lies. Are you telling yourself similar lies too?
When you do not know better, you act out of what you do know, and it takes inner wisdom to pull you out into the light, and that inner wisdom can only find you if you are receptive – receptive to challenging your way of thinking and your old beliefs. Receptive to letting go of toxic feelings that drive your actions and allowing your heart to fill with grace and gratitude. Receptive to the differences of others and accepting of it too.
For years, I lost fight after fight, argument after argument, not because I wasn’t good at it – I am actually brilliant at arguing – but because criticism, my darling, does not work. At All.
The only certainty you can count on with criticism is that it turns you into a most unhappy person.
So I opened my heart and dropped all the reasons that drove me to criticism.
Enough already! I didn’t care if I “lost” every argument and there is really no such thing, because being right doesn’t matter in relationships. It is being kind that matters.
Encourage others. It works every single time.
Now I encourage my husband. I encourage myself. I encourage the unwilling body. I encourage my parents. I encourage my siblings. I encourage my friends. I encourage my clients. I encourage my readers. I encourage strangers.
I encourage and encourage and encourage some more. I encourage others because the world has more than enough critics. I used to be one of them. Not anymore.
So tomorrow when something doesn’t go your way, and harsh words of criticism are about to pour out of your mouth like thunder on a bright sunny day, pause. Take a deep breath. Do some guided affirmations. Say nothing and do nothing for one whole minute.
Then search your beautiful mind for one single word of encouragement. And open your mouth and offer it. Do this repeatedly until it becomes your true nature. Because your true nature is GOOD.
Oh and do it because: You’ve just made the world a better place!