Criticism. Argh. Right? Have you noticed how much of it is in the world?
We hate being at the receiving end of it. And yet, there is this strange thing I have noticed about humans….they love participating in it! Tell me if I am wrong here!
Recently I noticed that I wanted to be in the space for more criticism to come to me. Not to hurt me, but to grow me. To prove that I am not afraid of words outside of myself. And I certainly wasn’t afraid of shiz slingers!
I love groups. I facilitate a bunch of them and love participating in them. I love the wealth of knowledge that is found there and I love the moments where we get to feel like we aren’t the only one who finds being a human difficult sometimes.
I am however, used to being a part of pretty high vibe groups. Groups where the content might be heavy, but the intention is not to judge but to learn, uplift and just BE with folks. And ultimately, they are there not to blame other folks, but to look at how they can be responsible for their own actions.
I know that not all groups run like this.
Years ago, I was a part of a group where the content of the group was, well…actually, I’ll just cut to it, there was a LOT of criticism being dished out. Talking about folks behind their backs. A LOT. And none of it was nice I gotta say.
It felt SO icky. I sat there, mouth shut. Or was it gaping open? I don’t know, but all I know is I left there feeling gross!
I left there wondering what they would say about me. What would they call me. What ‘nick-name’ I’d be lucky enough to earn. They actually had names for some of the folks in the group. So gross. I can’t even write the names because it feels so shit.
That was over 10 years ago. And it still sits with me. What a teaching experience!
Many months ago, I was a part of a group that, while they weren’t name calling members of the group who weren’t present, they were pulling out the stops on the criticism of other folks.
It was heavy.
As a facilitator my role is to be with whatever shows up wi though judgement with the intention to bring light to the dark and the heavy. I do this with questioning, perspective shifting with the intention to ‘reframe the blame’ so to speak.
But this time, there was no shifting. They were armpit deep in criticism of another humans. And it seemed no one was off limits. So deep. It felt like they had been so deep in the judgement and criticism for so long, they weren’t willing to let go and see another perspective. To cut the other human some slack, and seek to find some compassion.
It just must suck to be the person who is constantly looking for shit wrong with others. Must be. Right?
Criticism is a human trait. We are all disapproving of others in one way or another. It is our minds way of validating our own decision and ways by making others ways wrong. To make us feel superior and thus more likely to survive.
Trouble is, it has a lot of negative impacts. On our relationships with others and on ourselves. It might feel good in the moment putting someone else down and making yourself feel better, but I know for sure, that shizzle will come back and bite me in the butt!
See, if we are critical of other folks, it will 100% holds us back. Maybe not in the moment, but it will over time!
Here is 5 ways criticism can hold us back:
- You do it to them, you do it to me. People are listening to what you say! All the time. Believe it or not. More than you think. If you hear me running down those close to me, or anyone really, wont you be wondering what the heck I might be able to say about you behind your back? Not great for business. Not great for making deep connections. Pretty much not great right?
- Karma ya’ll. The law of cause and effect folks! What you put out, is on its way back. If you criticise others, it is on it’s way back to you before it even leaves your gob. This holds us back because subconsciously we know it is coming back, and instead of owning it and stepping up and take it, to bring it on…we play small instead of owning our humanness and saying sorry to those we judged. Now how brave would that be?
- Fear of Death. For some people, to receive criticism and judgement is scarier than death itself. Some folks would rather not have an opinion or idea or doing anything, because they are afraid that if someone says one shitty thing, they will simply die! We are not going to die people. We are going to feel shit, yes, but not die. Ultimately, humans will judge, humans will criticise…so do your thing anyway!
4. Out of Alignment. And I’m not talking spine! Or am I? Being critical. It just isn’t who you want to be be right? It doesn’t make you happy right? Like truly? At the end of you life, when you review how it went, you don’t want to be saying, “Fuck, I criticised everyone and everything. That wasn’t who I wanted to be”. So, WHO do you want to be in the world? What kind of characteristics do you want to display? Do you want to be one who uplifts and looks for peoples strengths, or one who is constantly poking holes in the ways people do or don’t do things? You choose!
5. Time wasting. Everyone is always complaining how little time they have. And yet, I’ve heard people complain they have no time and the time they do have is spent criticising anything from their kids, to the traffic to the weather to the shop attendant….and more. Use your time better ya’ll.
The world has such shit flinging going on at the moment. Please lets not be harmers. Lets be healers instead.
Change our words.
Oh, and of course…there are times when someone does something to piss us off, we are human after all…but share it with someone who you know is a ‘vault’. A trusted friend. A coach. A therapist. Your partner. Not random folks and acquaintances. AND you certainly don’t want the content of every conversation to be critical.
Tell me if I am wrong here. I’d really love to hear.
Until next time,
be brave. show up. fall down. and get back up again.