“Behind every criticism is a veiled wish.”
—Esther Perel, Belgian psychotherapist
Image from Unsplash by ahi ismail
How do you feel when you are criticized?
How often is your immediate response to defend yourself or perhaps go on the offense and attack others?
Explore a few recent interactions in which you were criticized for something you did or didn’t do.
Dig deeper into the thoughts and emotions of that person to see if there was a hidden desire or veiled wish below their barbed message. What did they secretly want that was not communicated in an acceptable way?
How might you shift your perspective and translate the harshness of their words into simple requests that would have a higher probability of acceptance?
A few books that can help your relationship skills are Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, Crucial Conversations, and Crucial Confrontations.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this post with your email address and I will be pleased to send you a copy of my one page Communication Toolbox.
“Counting other people’s sins does not make you a saint.”
Image from Unsplash by Tanner Mardis
What does it mean to live a good and meaningful life?
How important is it for you to be kind, thoughtful, generous, and of service?
Where do you see yourself on the saint-to-sinner spectrum of human behavior?
Many of us look at life and others with a critical eye. We often make comparisons to justify our predominate good-deed-doing status, and give ourselves pretty good marks on most days.
How many “brownie points” it takes to get into Heaven, no one knows. Keeping score of other’s sins is unlikely to increase your chances. Finding fault may actually be the type of sin we all should avoid.
How can and will you more fully express your values through virtuous actions?
Where and how can you more fully seek and find the saintly efforts within your personal and professional communities?
“We all have our limitations, but when we listen to our critics, we also have theirs.”
—Robert Brault, American freelance writer
Image from Unsplash by SEP
One of the very first personal development programs I attended in my early twenties was Dr. Wayne Dyer’s How to Be A No-Limit Person.
I had recently graduated from college, was just married and entering the working world with great anticipation and excitement. Dyer’s message of being a no-limit person was just the boost I needed to bring my full energy, enthusiasm, and drive to my efforts.
Along the way, I ran into numerous professional and personal speed bumps.
Doubts and discouragement definitely caused me to not shoot as often or as high as before.
Unfortunately, I also began listening to others who put a few more mental barriers in my way, based on their own self-imposed limitations and biases.
Where and on what personal or professional matter are you being limited by your own views or the views of others?
What bold and courageous actions can and will you take to be the no-limit person you want to be?
“Dogs bark at those they do not know.”
—Samuel Daniel, 17th Century English Poet
Image from Flickr by Toshihiro Gamo
Can you imagine people barking like dogs at people they don’t know?
In many ways, we do just that, except our bark is often silent, much like a dog whistle is to we humans.
This inner bark is often our judgement, criticism, and prejudice, showing that we are rarely open or receptive to another’s point of view, perspectives, or beliefs.
Take a look at the communities within your personal and professional worlds. What, overall, is the cost of the silent and not so silent “barking”?
Peace and a sense of unified community is hard to find, even if all signs point to things being fine on the surface.
Where would acknowledging and working on your own judgmental and critical tendencies support your cooperative and collaborative nature with those you’ve barked at in the past?
“Praise does wonders for our sense of hearing.”
—Arnold Glasgow, Psychologist
Image from Flickr by Team Omega Racing
If you’ve ever been to a loud concert, or slept next to someone who snores, you know the value of a good set of earplugs!
When we consider the difference between what people say and what others hear, we may think that some people forget to remove their earplugs when they rise in the morning.
Those little foam rubber buds may protect our ears from harsh noises, but we may also want to investigate the harsh judgements and criticism we choose to hear or block out.
How would more praise and acknowledgement improve our ability to listen, hear, and relate to one another?
“Don’t belittle yourself. Be-Big yourself.”
—Corita Kent, American Catholic Nun
Image from fineartamerica.com
There is, perhaps, no greater destructive force in relationships than that of belittling and diminishing others. Eleanor Roosevelt gave us a bit of coaching with her famous quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Today’s quote points to the not always recognized inner critic and the things we say about ourselves. How often do you chastise, berate, belittle, and judge yourself, personally or professionally?
What alternative “Be-Bigging” messages can you use now and in the future to build, empower, and support your own self-confidence and self-worth?
Consider enlisting the help and coaching of others when you aren’t aware of these often hidden attempts to bring yourself down.
“If criticism is needed, do it tactfully. Don’t use a sledgehammer when a fly swatter will do the job.”
-Ann Landers, Advice Columnist
image from www.blogging4jobs.com
Providing constructive feedback is the cornerstone of a healthy and productive coaching relationship. Criticism, or the more common term, “constructive criticism” can often have less than desirable and even destructive consequences.
A critical determinant to providing effective and optimal feedback is a trusting relationship in which both parties are focused and committed to the same objective.
How would a more tactful coaching approach be used in your world, to provide the valuable feedback you desire in supporting those around you toward enhanced performance and productivity?
“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember… the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”
—Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker
How are you doing on your personal success journey? If you gave yourself a grade, would you be deserving of an “A+”? Or would it be something less remarkable?
It’s not unusual for most of us to be distracted by nay-Sayers – those who cause us to doubt our progress and take our foot off the gas, even if it is only momentary.
Perhaps the critics feel that as we move forward, they fall further behind. They point the finger at us rather than themselves in an attempt to sabotage our efforts or deflate our sense of accomplishment so they can feel better about themselves.
How can you invite more people in your professional and personal worlds to join you in their own success journey? Should they choose not to come along, how will you shield yourself from their biting criticism? What if you removed the toxic individuals from your life entirely?