Criticizing others. Ah… Now here’s something I’m good at!
Seriously tho, being critical is DEFINITELY something I have the capacity to do. That is, even though I don’t want to judge, sometimes I teleport into a criticism mindset. All of a sudden, I notice myself “hating on” everything in sight.
“That gutter smells! Why is it clogged? The city shouldn’t let that happen!”
“Her shoes DO NOT match that outfit.”
“My neighbor’s bushes are OVERGROWN. I can barely walk on the sidewalk!”
Wah wah wah. Etc. Omg, girl. Chill.
WHY AM I CRITICIZING?
What is going on here?
Deep down, I DO NOT want to criticize other people. I DO NOT want to look at my fellow humans and immediately generate a list of things I don’t like. And I especially don’t want to look at the entire world that way.
I want to be understanding. At peace. Positive. Full of joy. Ready to share a compliment.
So, what makes me fall into this particular negativity trap? To answer that question, I’d like to explore the hidden origins of judgment overload.
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WHAT IS CRITICIZING, REALLY?
Criticizing is really:
- Noticing something wrong, off, or out of place.
- Bringing the mismatch to light so that it can be fixed.
Judging something as a poor fit is actually a good human capacity to have. It gives us the ability to notice issues before they become a problem. By spotting and correcting potential probs, it helps us find harmony and balance in situations where there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle.
I mean really. Do I want to leave the house with mismatching shoes? No. My neighbors and I all appreciate clear sidewalks so we don’t get run over by cars. And clogged gutters? Gross! That’s a sign that SOMETHING is not right. And it ain’t gonna unclog itself.
When I notice things I don’t like, I’m really noticing things I wish were different.
So criticizing is actually not a sign that “everything sucks!” Rather it is a sign that “things could be better. And I can imagine exactly how!”
Noticing problems, with the intention to correct them, is a good thing.
Criticizing, with the intention to criticize some more, is a recipe for negativity and mental fatigue.
Do you really dislike the way that the world is around you? Okay. That’s alright. But if you don’t take action to do anything about it, you’re just running on negative for no reason.
Let’s face it. I’m not really going to deliver a perfect pair of matching shoes to that stranger. I won’t be trimming my neighbor’s hedges this weekend. And I’m DEFINITELY NOT reaching my hand down in that gutter. Just nope.
So why does this happen in my brain?
FRESH PHILOSOPHER FREEBIE:
I CRITICIZE WHEN I DON’T LET MYSELF CREATE
If I criticize EVERYTHING, my inner voice is yelling! But my inner voice is NOT REALLY trying to tell me these shoes suck. It is saying I suck.
When I am in a super judgmental mode, and nothing seems good, my inner voice is actually NOT pointing out issues with the outer world. It is pointing out problems with my inner world.
My inner voice is saying: “I have a million ideas.” It is saying, “Hello Erienne. Good morning. Wake up! What are you doing today? Are you making our dreams come alive? Or are you going to avoid me again? I’m your dearest hopes and dreams! I’m counting on you!”
My inner voice is actually being critical of ME. It wants me to listen to my heart and follow it.
Wait what? Me? Oh yes. My inner voice is saying, “I don’t like that social media binge so much. Are you spending our precious leisure time carousing? I thought you were going to meditate! Weren’t you going to set up that meeting? Or write that blog post. Time to shine your light on the world!”
Oh. Really? I guess I can see why that is kind of hard for me to hear…. It is a bunch negative stuff about how I’m ignoring my calling. I don’t want to hear that. So I shut that inner voice down. And I do something else with my creative power instead. I let it fester. And it gets all grouchy and negative.
THE INNER TRUTH
The truth is, being critical is a reminder of my inner power. I have the power to change the existing structures around me.
I have the power to create.
So, critical but not creating?
The cure for judgmental mode, for me, is to let my creative ideas flow. To allow the ideas the bubble to the surface and come all the way up. In other words, to listen to my inner voice.
When I give my ideas permission to exist, I give myself permission to exist too.
Suddenly the world seems like a brighter place.
Dr. Erienne Weine
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