Breaking up with Criticism
A few weeks ago. I wasn’t enjoying the look on my husband's face when I was just trying to give him “suggestions” of how to improve things he had done. It was unsettling. One morning, I got brave and asked him if I had slipped into being too… Crit… It wasn’t even out of my mouth yet and he said, “YES!” Ouch! It was as I feared. Over the last several months, I had slipped back into being too critical. This is not who I want to be.
I have a great excuse. I am naturally hardwired to be a problem solver. My gift mix lends itself to seeing ideas and situations, and just trying to improve on them. This is not because I believe I have the best ideas or that it has to be my idea. I invite people to do this with my ideas and situations, too.
I have been walking through a season where chaos is swirling around me. Things are really messy.
A lot of things are out of my control. When I see people being hurt or hurting others the restorative part of me wants to step in and “fix it.” I hate feeling helpless. I tend to be a “this-is-not-okay-and-we-will-fix-this” kind of woman. Unfortunately, it’s not always within my power. This is when I slip back into being too critical and start looking for every little thing to fix or make better.
You see, that day I found myself uncomfortable in my own skin.
I could hear myself criticizing rather than evaluating. My mood was getting worse by the day. My heart was beginning to get hard; my tone sharper. I had less patience with people and things. I was even complaining in my prayers to God. I wasn’t able to access my creative problem-solving skills. It was all starting to seem hopeless. I resorted to the only thing I could think of…criticizing. It was mostly internal but it was beginning to leak. Yuck! This is not the woman I want to be.
After admitting it and apologizing for slipping back into this old pattern, I decided to break up with criticism.
With God’s help, I started listening to myself; the words I heard internally and the words coming out of my mouth. When I hear myself criticizing, I have been stopping and reframing it by asking a few questions:
● What is the problem, as I see it?
● Can I be part of the solution? If not, I need to let it go. It is none of my business.
● After evaluating, is there any positive way I can add value?
● When and how is the best way for me to do that?
This is less draining and helps me to feel more in control of myself, not others.
Is criticism getting the best of you?
Written By: Tammy Claughton