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How to Stop Criticizing in Two Steps

On December 5th, 2018

Posted In:
Mindset | vlog

Have you ever been criticized before? I'm sure you have. We all have and it's not a very pleasant experience. In fact, sometimes we run into people who are overly critical or perhaps we are overly critical and there is a lot of damage that can happen by getting trapped in that kind of behavior pattern. So let's talk about that today.

Criticism is sometimes disguised as helpful feedback. It's not when we’re getting compliments. This is when we're getting critical feedback. And some people get trapped in this behavior pattern. They are overly critical all the time. Other people are not so much trapped in it but when they get into a stressful environment or they feel stress, they become overly critical. Very normal and happens to a lot of people.

But it does so much damage that I think we really need to talk about it. Now, I might be talking about you and it's okay. And I might be talking about someone that you live with and that's very unpleasant. Because what happens, what is going on with somebody who's overly critical…there’s a lot of right/wrong thinking. So there's a right way and a wrong way to do things. And when they look at something, what they see is how it's not quite how it should be, how it's not perfect the way they would make it yet, and so they see the flaws and then they want it fixed. They want to fix it, they want you to fix it, they want it to be fixed.

So the result is unrequested critique. Critical feedback is given. And unfortunately, often somebody who is frequently very critical also doesn't give a lot of compliments, doesn’t give a lot of praise. Which totally makes sense, right? Because their brain is currently wired to see what's wrong with something. So that's sort of what's going on with them. But here are the things that can happen.

First of all, I just told you that their brain is wired for flaws. Okay? So that's not the greatest way to interact with other people and the world.

When you interact with somebody who's overly critical, whether that's just in a relationship, a friendship, your boss, whatever. What can happen is that we kind of half-ass things. We're going to get criticized anyway. So why put your best foot forward when you're just going to get a list of reasons why it's not good. So the criticizer actually ends up in a situation where people don't try very hard because they're expecting to be criticized.

Also when you critique something, especially because often it's based on what the “right” way is and the “wrong” way is kind of thinking, it feels like judgements and the other person feels judged. They feel that you're judging their work, their behavior, their actions, their finished product, and they also feel like you're judging them. This is damaging to relationships.

So I'm going to make some suggestions. You can't tell someone to do this but if this is you, I want to give you some ideas. First, go on a criticism diet. And I mean everything, even the stuff you're dressing up as critical feedback or helpful feedback, just cut it out. Cut it out entirely for a certain length of time where you just refuse to let that stuff slip out of your mouth. Okay? Then replace it and actually start to give praise and start to give acknowledgement for what you see that's working.

And these are the things that it's going to help with. Number one, you're rewiring your brain. You're rewiring your brain so that instead of seeing flaws, you're asking yourself to actually look for what's good…“How is this done well? What can I compliment someone on?” And so that changes everything about how you see everything.

The second thing that it's going to do is it actually bring up the performance of other people. When you start to give them praise and they don't walk around expecting you to criticize, they're going to naturally try to do the job that they think is the best job instead of just some job waiting for you to critique it. So it will bring up the level of work anyway.

And the very most important thing is that you are going to enhance your relationships. Instead of people expecting to be criticized by you and waiting to be judged by you, they’re going to receive acknowledgement and they're going to feel seen by you. They're going to receive your positive judgements. And then that starts to establish a connection with people and that is the big human game, right? It’s our connections to other people.

So if you know somebody and you feel like you could gently share with them who has a tendency to slip into criticizing or giving critical feedback on a regular basis or just maybe even when they're stressed, you could share this video with them. And if it's you and I say that gently and with love because it can be me sometimes…I urge you to go on a criticism diet and start to hand out praise instead and see how that affects your relationships and your brain and the results. Thank you so much for watching and I will see you next time.

Hey, let's connect! I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you'd like to sign up for my biweekly newsletter, The Love List, scroll to the bottom of the page.

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