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We all have
to live with criticism. No matter what we do or how well
we do it, there almost always will be someone there to criticize
our efforts, the results of our efforts, or both.
And that's not
necessarily a bad thing. Criticism becomes a problem when
we take it to heart, when we take it personally. When we
see criticism as a reflection of who we are as human beings,
then we face one of the biggest obstacles to living a full life
there is. Other human beings have found it fitting to
criticize something that we've done, or to criticize us
The way that criticism
affects us, though, has very little to do with the criticism
itself, the person or people who are criticizing us, or even the
way that they're criticizing. Criticism becomes an
obstacle to our peace and happiness depending on the way that we
take it, and nothing else.
My simplified perspective
on criticism is this: If someone's criticizing me to try
to hurt me personally, then that person simply isn't worth me
losing my peace of mind over what he or she has done. If
on the other hand someone is criticizing me sincerely and
constructively, then he or she is trying to help me, and I
should look upon their words and actions as help, and nothing
else. I should try to learn what they want to teach me
with their criticism, and grow because of it.
I usually find that
people who are criticizing don't know the whole story behind a
certain action or process. Have you ever taken someone to
task for not completing a job or a task only to find out that
something completely out of that person's control had happened,
not allowing them to finish the job? I've criticized my
step-kids for treating certain people in ways that seemed poor
to me, only to find out that there's much more to the
relationships than the little bit that I saw.
If I'm being criticized
constructively, I should be thankful that someone is taking the
time to teach me, even if they may not do it in the most
diplomatic ways possible. The way I react to the criticism
will determine how I feel about myself and how I relate to
others who are with me, and it's important that I separate the
criticism from myself, personally.
But what about the people
who constantly criticize others, almost mercilessly? In
their cases, the criticism that they're dishing out is the
obstacle to their full lives, as people learn very quickly to
avoid them at all costs if they don't want to be
criticized. These people often don't understand why others
don't want to be around them, even as they continue to criticize
almost everything that they see. I don't want to spend
time with anyone who's going to belittle me and all that I do,
so I'll stay away from them as much as I can.
These people also are
teaching themselves never to be satisfied. I've known
quite a few people like this, too, who seem simply unable to let
something be, just as it is. It's either too cold, too
hot, too blue, too short, too new or too old. There always
has to be something wrong, and they always have to point it
out. Can you imagine how sad life would be if you were
never able to look at something beautiful, accept it for exactly
what it is, and enjoy it?
So criticism can hurt
both the receiver and the sender, keeping both from living life
as fully as they possibly can. At least the receiver has
the option of taking the criticism in a healthy way and not lose
his or her peace of mind over it. If one is a constant
sender of criticism, though, it's very possible that the person
doesn't even recognize the way that he or she is sabotaging his
or her ability to be accepting of life and the other human
beings with whom we all share this planet.
How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to
is futile because it puts
a person on the defensive and
usually makes one strive to justify
him or her self. Criticism is
dangerous, because it wounds a
person's precious pride, hurts
one's sense of importance,
and arouses resentment.
How to Win Friends
and Influence People
criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
also attributed to Aristotle
you feel in your heart to be right--
for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned
if you do, and damned if you don't.
criticize another person, it says nothing about that
person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.
be divided into two classes: those who go
ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire,
"Why wasn't it done the other way?"
Sufi poet Rumi wrote, "Your criticism polishes my mirror."
understand who you are and respect yourself, you will not see criticism
as a problem but as an opportunity to become a better person. When
feel inadequate or imperfect, the criticism is threatening and makes you
feel that you have to defend yourself. When you are secure--not
but secure--you can listen to the criticism and consider its value.
say, "I'm sorry." And "thank you for polishing my
mirror," and when it is
appropriate you can learn from the criticism and improve your behavior.
I say when it is appropriate because there are some people who love
to find fault in others. That is their problem.
There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don't
take much to see that
something is wrong, but it takes some eyesight to see what will bring it
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|Criticism has the power to do
good when there is something that
must be destroyed,
dissolved, or redirected, but it is capable only
harm when there is something to be built.
fool can criticize,
condemn, and complain--and most fools do.
I am my own biggest critic.
Before anyone else has criticized me, I have
already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going
to be with
me and I don't want to spend my life with someone who is always critical.
So I am going to stop being my own critic. It's high time that
I accept all the great things about me.
C. JoyBell C.
|One has a
right to criticize, who has a heart to help.
Criticism may not be
agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function
as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state
Of all the
preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing
exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor
by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.
you for criticism, but they only want praise.
W. Somerset Maugham
Of Human Bondage
of others is thus an oblique form of self-commendation. We
think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling
our neighbors that all his pictures are crooked.
Fulton J. Sheen
Seven Words of Jesus and Mary
It is much more valuable to look
for the strength in others.
You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections.
|The trouble with most of us is that we'd rather be ruined
by praise than saved by criticism.
Norman Vincent Peale
pleasure of criticizing takes away from us the pleasure
of being moved by some very fine things.
Jean de La Bruyère
The motive behind
criticism often determines its validity. Those who
care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the
moment they think that they have found a weak spot.
tend to criticize their spouses most loudly in the area where
they themselves have the deepest emotional need.
The Five Love Languages
discovered very quickly that criticism is a form of optimism, and that
when you are silent about the shortcomings of your society, you're very
pessimistic about that society. And it's only when you speak truthfully
about it that you show your faith in that society.