Criticism vs Praise
“No, just tell me what’s wrong? Did your tourists miss a plane? What can I do?”
I have a wonderful overseas friend and colleague. The description of her personality traits deserves a separate story if not a book, but in keeping with today’s topic it goes like this: I just decided to up and write to her that she is remarkable and I adore her. Just like that, from the heart, without a reason, not expecting any feedback and reciprocal friendship love.
The reaction was unexpected for both of us: my friend simply couldn’t believe that one could just receive a compliment out of the blue. And I pondered that for a very long time. What’s up with that?
Our consciousness is so used to the idea that in order to earn a kind word from those close to us (as well as from ourselves) it is necessary to do something, otherwise nothing good will be said just for the sake of it. At the same time, we grew accustomed to the biting internal critic who in a heartbeat takes note of everything that we do wrong. And if we ourselves haven’t noticed anything, then believe me the external critic will repeatedly verbally thump you on the head. And it’s a lifelong struggle that starts at birth.
“What the heck? Why do you need it? Why on earth would you spend money on that?”
“It’s not going to happen, it’s too complicated, people spend years studying and still don’t know what to do. And God knows you have a high opinion of yourself. It’s a lost cause.”
“Where were your eyes? We just passed a free parking space; now we’ll have to drive around for 40 minutes until we find a new one.”
“Once again you forgot to call on time.”
“You made a mistake here.”
“You are a loser.” (Whether you think about it or say it out loud, as far as you energy is concerned, the end result will be the same.)
“… at least 100 more examples the reader can think up on his own.”
You would think that it’s all shits and giggles. Or is it? It looks like there is nothing to be offended about. And besides, although criticism of any kind is unpleasant, it’s supposed to be helpful and constructive.
According to the dictionary, criticism is:
The deliberation, analysis of something aimed at making a judgment.
The expression of disapproval of something, indication of perceived faults.
Let each and every one of us answer this honestly: what inspires us more, gives us strength, motivates us to take certain actions – criticism or praise?
And here lies yet another rebuttal: but what about constructive criticism? What are we going to do without it? Perfection won’t be achieved, that’s for sure.
It’s all about the balance. I doubt that most of us have been raised drowning in compliments and approval from an early age. Most likely, it’s the other way around.
Criticism is good only in small doses, and in all other cases it clips your wings, stopping you from flying. And to think that occasionally just one phrase is enough.
Tell a cashier that her manicure is beautiful, the color is unusual.
Thank the call center’s bank employee for his assistance in resolving an outstanding issue, instead of complaining that you had to wait 6 minutes on the line.
Hear your new acquaintance say that you have a beautiful accent, even though he can see that you can barely utter a few words in a foreign language. But it is enough to make language learning a pleasurable experience, and nothing like pulling teeth.
One phrase spoken to a friend who is sick and tired of everyday routine: “You’re so awesome! You can do it hands down. “
Instead of moping around because a person close to you misunderstood something or other and getting into an argument, expressing your invaluable opinion, just say: “I have to admit that’s an interesting point of view. Your advice has been very helpful. Your idea is a stroke of genius. Whatever I’m doing, you would definitely do better.”
The result of this approach will knock your socks off. The only thing, you have to take baby steps and do everything according to plan when you make your moves. Otherwise, your loved ones may simply not believe that it is said from the heart, and not because you once again need something from them.
It’s better to silence your inner critic as much as possible, relocating his assertions to a shelf in the brain that has no real importance with a thought: “Thank you. I‘ll think about it. Maybe.”