Criticism is a sure fire way to slow progress. I’m not talking about feedback, or brainstorming, or even making an honesty inventory of our strengths and weaknesses. Criticism is never helpful. Let’s be clear - there may be times when we think we are being helpful. But if there is a hint of criticism, your best efforts at helpfulness are blown before you even start. There are times when our fears or insecurities are handled using the misdirection of criticism. This will not make us less afraid or more secure.
Signs that you might be a critic: People do not respond well to your feedback, you say things like, “I am just being honest,” you might be told you are negative or your standards are unattainable. Sometimes we sneak criticism in sideways. “You may not know this but SOME PEOPLE think/feel that You….” Not EVER helpful. It’s the equivalent of Christian saying “Somebody is going up the stairs.” It’s a LOT cuter on a two year old than an adult.
Are you concerned about an issue or for a person? That’s kind of you. Do other people’s problems make you nervous or freak you out? Beware. You might be moving into codependency territory.
Criticism, at its heart, is a way to distract ourselves or others from our own shortcomings, insecurities, and fears. There’s just no useful place for it. We do not need to criticize ourselves and we certainly do not need to criticize others.
There are very few relationships that rise to the level of accountability that make us the people responsible for criticizing another person.
How do we set aside criticism and learn how to be helpful when there is an issue that needs addressing? We’ll deal with that tomorrow. For today, notice if you are distracted from taking your own moral inventory by finding what you perceive is “missing” in others.