Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A critique of criticism

Criticism, in my book, is always negative if you label it as such. It’s not often constructive and it’s sometimes used as a weapon against you. 

The test of effective criticism is that it doesn’t hurt and its’ even welcome. Hurtful words and dramatic exaggerations are not used and the recipient knows (because he receives unconditional love and lives in a supportive environment 95% of the time) that its delivered with love – that’s constructive!

 Criticism is the ego in overdrive – the unhealthy part of us – that can’t mind our own business.

It’s a great human failing that we wish to point out (and take great pleasure in doing so) each other’s inadequacies more than we remark upon each other’s strengths. We think we’re the experts on everything though our own houses may not be in order. We carry on as if we’re perfect. We’ll laugh at others’ mistakes as if we’ve never done a stupid thing in our lives.

Criticism means that you have a holier-than-thou attitude. You’re like the cat that’s licked the cream and eaten the canary. You know it all. You have an interest that you wish to protect – an inflated ego with bragging rights.

She's so perfect?!
There can be positive purpose in criticism. It might be a call to action. “I think you’re going to need a crane to get you out of bed if you don’t start losing some weight” – negative speak.
“ Why don’t we both start going to the gym or jogging in the park?” – positive speak.

Criticism rarely cures and may even aggravate emotional conditions. Anorexia, bulimia, OCD, depression, panic attacks can all be symptoms of criticism. Psychosomatic symptoms are also known to be a consequence of criticism.

Our parents puts us on the rocky road when they start venting their frustrations at us. “Why can’t you be like Mary-Beth, she helps her mother with the chores?” “When I was your age I was better behaved with better grades!” “Do you have to play music so that the neighbours are deafened?”

Hear no evil, speak no evil!
Criticism is not love as we know it, but it’s a kind of tough love. Problem being that it’s so tough it could break you. 
It certainly breaks your self-esteem until you believe you’re worthless. Childhood is a delicate time and children cannot grow healthily without love.

Sad to say, many children who are now adults have never known such love and that’s one of the reasons the world is in such a mess. To put it in a nutshell - war and poverty are caused by a huge vacuum of love (and probably criticism has made a contribution too). It may sound simplistic but it’s the truth.

Admonishments are necessary to instil discipline. Discipline is important for productivity and social order. You have to be love and then give love. Look into a child’s eyes, touch their cheek and deliver plenty of hugs. This will benefit your relationship greatly, more than treats and toys. You cannot hide the truth from a child; he knows if he doesn’t live in a happy home and that knowledge does irreparable damage.

Everyone has a dark side. There are some self-improvement blogs that advise you to examine yourself when a criticism is hurled at you. It’s a valuable tool but don’t become a door mat. 
I have a dark side but I rarely let it out and it’s kept under surveillance at all times.
 I’d rather concentrate on the sides of myself that are bright and positive, in the hope that my dark side may eventually see the light!

Constructively destructive
Criticism is most often channelled through anger. Angry faces and angry words are not going to help anyone to improve. Anger is a debilitating condition and anyone who can’t control theirs needs help or isolate themselves from the triggers…..preferably on a desert island.

Criticism can be a hidden form of abuse.
 It’s subtle yet powerful. Sensitive people are brought down by this vile display of egotism. Criticism is fruitless since the person you’re directing it at may not be able to change their inherent character. Criticism is in the mind of the other person so let your actions speak louder than their words!

Criticism is not the way to win friends and influence people. Criticism destroys relationships. Love is patient; love is kind and when the love you have is neither of those, then it’s time to get out.

Don’t become a verbal punchbag, justifying yourself is a waste of time. Get out of the habit of criticism and into the habit of gratitiude. Thank your critic for his input but leave that sh** at the door.  
Silence your inner critic and you’ll find the world a beautiful place; it doesn’t have to work according to your directives. Let go and let it be.



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