Would you call yourself a praiser or a criticizer? When someone shares good news with you, do you say, “I’m so proud,” “that’s amazing,” “great job,” “high five” OR do you say, “that’s nice, but [fill in the blank with a nit-picky, negative comment]?”
Let’s talk about what happens to you and the other person when you criticize. If you naturally focus on the negative, you most likely do not just do this with other people. If you think about it, this is probably a common theme in your life and your internal dialogue about yourself as well.
The act of criticizing is, by its nature, negative. That negativity impacts your life and your relationships. It doesn’t feel good to anyone. How do you feel when someone finds any and everything wrong with what you do? How does it feel when the punitive internal voice in your head won’t stop finding fault?
The work is shifting the focus from the negative to the positive and being supportive. The power of your intention is amazing. What you put your attention on grows and expands. If you focus on finding the positive and saying something supportive (whether to yourself or someone else), you will draw more of positive experiences to you.
The concept of humans as energy and the vibration our emotions create can be confusing, so let me give an example. If you are having a bad day, doesn’t it seem like whatever can go wrong will go wrong and everyone you encounter is rude? Now, think about when you are having a good day. You inevitably find a parking spot up close; someone holds the door open for you, and the cashier smiles. All seems right in the world. This is how our feelings create a vibration that draws like energy to us in the form of experiences.
Negative, frustrated, angry energy draws more of the same straight to you.
Do not confuse being supportive and speaking positively with lying. Being insincere or inauthentic does not add any value. Constructive criticism, which should only be offered when specifically asked, can be done with kindness without the intent to make the other person or yourself wrong. When giving constructive criticism, speak from a place of love and compassion and relay your own experiences if they are relevant. Remember not everyone is seeking your opinion in every situation. Listen with an open heart and mind and if you have an idea you would like to share, ask the receiver if they would like to hear it before assuming they do. Sometimes our friends and loved ones would actually just like us to hold space for them to figure it out on their own.
I have a challenge for you. It requires you to be mindful with a bit of present moment awareness. This week, every time you start to criticize, catch yourself, and stop. How often do you want to criticize and say something negative, whether it is to yourself or someone else? It may be more often than you think. Know that bringing awareness to the habit is the first step in overcoming it and replacing it with a more positive one!
Let me know how the challenge goes for you. What did you learn? Maybe you can dig deeper and get to the root of why seeing what is wrong is your first instinct. Try to follow the dots backwards in your life experience to where you learned this behavior.
Your emotional wellbeing and relationships are worth the time and effort! You don’t like being around a chronic critic and neither does anyone else. Be the positivity you want to draw to you.
I hope you have an amazingly positive week and, as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love,
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Terri Cole, founder and CEO of Live Fearless and Free, is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. For almost two decades, Terri has empowered companies, celebrities, professional athletes and individuals to Live Fearless and Free. Recently, Terri released her first CD “Meditation Transformation”.