Criticising Others - Being Criticized



       Criticising Others 

    → Power of Forgiveness

    ← Emotional Armor


Do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you. Criticism doesn't bring the results you expect.

How do you provide criticism? Do you critique people in a curt and blunt manner, or are you able to provide criticism that is both useful and tactful?  

Some people around the world live by criticizing others. They feed off of other people's "mistakes". They never stop to think if maybe they'd be put in the same position, or if maybe once before, they made a mistake themselves. They talk and talk till they find something better to do. 


Criticism arises because human beings have opinions, make judgments, carry grudges, cover low self-esteem and self worth, and may act cruelly. Parents often do little else but criticize their children, noticing their children only when they are making noise, not eating their peas, wasting hard-earned money, or not doing their homework.

Over time, however, you cannot have failed to notice that most of the people whose faults you have gone to such trouble to correct have improved much less than you would have expected. You've told them what you think is wrong with them, so why have they not taken it on board and really benefited from your input? Why do some of them, in fact, even seem to do things worse than before? You may have noticed the same phenomenon in your own personal development. When you feel less than satisfied with your own performance at something, do you tell yourself off for your failings? Do you ask yourself in angry tones why you are so lazy? So stupid? So slow? Does this help you improve in any measurable way? Or do you just feel bad?


What's wrong with focusing on what's wrong

At first sight it seems obvious that the way to sort out what's 'wrong' with something that has been done is to focus on the problem and on the person responsible. But in practice, being less critical and focusing more on what has gone 'right' is a far more effective way to get people to improve what they are doing. And this is true even when you apply it internally, to yourself. But it's not a matter of totally disregarding what has gone wrong. It's a matter of putting the emphasis on what has gone right. And then looking for what can be improved to bring it in line with what has already gone well. This allows people to build on their successes rather than be brought down by their failures. They will then be much more motivated to lift their level of performance generally.


If we cannot achieve certain things that we have always wanted then we start complaining and criticizing others. Instead of dissecting the reasons behind our failures, we easily get off the hook, by simply blaming others. Who does not like to grudge, grouch, complain, and criticize? Who hasn’t done it – almost everyone living in every nook and corner of this world does it. And yes, we all are aware of the fact that it’s not good to complain or criticize unnecessarily, still we tend to do so. What is it that’s so addicting and hypnotizing that we never seem to learn a lesson, and cannot stop complaining and criticizing repeatedly? 


When You Are Criticized ask Yourself:

  • "How Important is the Threat?"
  • Is This a Big Deal or Am I Being Super Sensitive?

Ask yourself,

  • "How serious is the charge? Is it a trivial one?
  • Am I just playing trivial pursuit to allow myself to be hurt by a small matter?"
  • What Threat Does The Other Person Feel?
  • To his body?
  • To his possessions?
  • To his self esteem
  • To his values? (No matter how irrational attitudes and values may seem to us, people generally act in accordance with their belief system and values.)

What Does The Other Person Want To Have Happen As A Result Of His Words? What Does He Really Want?

  • To intimidate you and squelch you?
  • To shift the blame from himself to you by externalizing it?
  • To change or control you by putting his values on you?
  • To gain attention?
  • To get his way?
  • To give information?

What is the threat to yourself?

  • Is there physical threat?
  • How does the remark threaten my self-esteem?
  • How do I allow myself to feel belittled by the remark?
  • Am I flashing back to how I felt when I was criticized as a child?
  • Who in the past has used critical remarks in a similar manner?
  • Am I projecting someone from the past on this person?

How Do I Cope With Critical Remarks?

  • Become confused?
  • Disassociated?
  • Shut down? Become frozen?
  • Retaliate with anger and blame?
  • Withdraw? Run away?
  • Act silly? Laugh it off?
  • Ignore it and hurt inside?
  • Internalize anger and stew over it?

What Choices Do I Have In The Face Of Threat?

  • State my limits - "I won't allow you to call me----"
  • State my feelings. "I feel upset when you speak sarcastically."
  • Leave the situation. Walk out and give the message of refusal to be put down.
  • See the issue as the other person's problem.
  • Breathe, stay centered and calm. Put up my shield of power refusing to engage in an interchange of negative energy. Let the negative energy bounce back or be deflected away. 

Criticism gives us a wonderful chance to learn about ourselves.

When You are Criticized, Ask Yourself....

  • What can I learn about myself?
  • What information do I need to get from the remark, if any?
  • Is there a message there that I need to hear despite the criticism?
  • Why do I need to continue to hurt over small criticisms?
  • What fear does the criticism bring up for me?
  • What values of mine are being threatened?

Avoiding Unnecessary Criticism

We are apt to criticise unnecessarily. It is as if we are drawn to the faults of others and forget the good things they do.

Criticism rarely helps a situation; when we criticise people they invariably feel miserable and when they are unhappy they are unlikely to lead better lives. If we can avoid criticising others we should. It is also important to avoid feeling responsible for the way others lead their lives; if you think a friend is too carefree with spending money, it is not necessary to keep criticising them for it. To a large extent, we have to give people the freedom to make their own choices in life. If we constantly criticise others it suggests that we want to direct their lives for them, something we should avoid doing.


Avoid Criticising inwardly

Quite often we spend a lot of time criticising others inwardly. We may not say it in words; but our thoughts are filled with criticisms of other people. When we think negatively about other people we do nothing to change that person; the only thing we achieve is to become negative ourselves. If we spend our mental energy in criticising other people we will not get any abiding feeling of satisfaction; we will certainly not become a better person ourselves. What happens when we criticise others is that the ego feels a sense of superiority. We criticise others to make ourselves feel better; but, this feeling of superiority only gives a pseudo happiness based on a sense of ‘being a better person’. True abiding happiness will come when we can feel a sense of oneness with others. When we identify with others we seek to focus on their good qualities and forget their mistakes.

 Be careful about criticising inwardly – would you be happy for your thoughts to be made public? Try concentrating on holding thoughts you would not be embarrassed to share outwardly.

Words can be an insignificant aspect. If you have to point out a failure in someone’s behaviour, be very careful in how it is expressed (our facial expressions are the clear cues to others we imagine them to be, they are instead open to interpretation.


Tone of Voice

Tone of Voice. 70% of conversation is through the tone of voice and facial expressions.

Avoid speaking in a tone which expresses, sarcasm, anger, hostility or condescension.

As much as possible, speak in a polite, friendly and natural way. This makes a big difference. Even if you feel, the person deserves your anger or sarcasm it will not help to criticise them in this way. If you do, they will react in a negative way. If you criticise in a thoughtful way, they will be much more likely to be sympathetic to your point.

              Offer Encouragement

A clever way to criticise is to offer encouragement for good things that people have done. If you offer sincere encouragement and praise then people will be much more receptive to hearing criticisms and suggestions for improvements. This is not about offering false flattery; it is about having a balance between praise and criticism. If you only criticise and point out people’s faults, this is unbalanced and people will lose their self confidence. Everyone is a mixture of good qualities and bad qualities; encouraging their good qualities is the best way to diminish their mistakes and bad qualities.

                       Avoid Moralising

When people make a mistake and need correcting, we should not shy away from doing it. If people continue to make a mistake, it will cause endless problems. To make the criticism effective we need to make it in a detached and professional way – It is important to avoid a sense of moralising. For example, point out the mistake but don’t add unnecessary judgments about how bad they are to do it. The moralising will only make people defensive and less willing to act on your suggestions.

           Make Criticism Non Personal

When we criticise others, the biggest problem is that people tend to take it personally. If we tell someone they have missed a few commas out of their writing, unfortunately some people take this as personal criticism of their self. There are a few ways to avoid this. Firstly, we can try and make the criticism general and avoid focusing on one person. Another useful strategy is to make it clear this is the kind of mistake that we may have made. If we point out a mistake and say that I have often done that myself (even if we haven’t), it becomes much less problematic. We do not make the person feel bad because we show that we have also made that mistake.

Learn to understand people instead of     rejecting them 

Learn to understand people instead of rejecting them. Try to figure out why are they acting like they do and not the other way. It is much more useful than criticizing. It also brings tolerance and creates goodwill.

One of the most difficult challenges in life is learning not to take things to heart and hold on to it.

Especially when we’re younger, or if we’re very sensitive, we take so much of what comes our way to heart. This can be overwhelming and unproductive if it throws us off balance on a regular basis. When we are feeling criticized or attacked from all directions, it becomes very difficult for us to recover ourselves so that we can continue to speak and act our truth. This is when we would do well to remember the old saying about letting certain things roll off us, like water off a duck’s back.


If we get caught up in trying to adjust ourselves to other people’s negative energy, we lose touch with our core. In fact, in a positive light, these slings and arrows offer us the opportunity to strengthen our core sense of self, and to learn to dodge and deflect other people’s misdirected negativity. The more we do this, the more we are able to discern what belongs to us and what belongs to other people. With practice, we become masters of our energetic integrity, refusing to serve as targets for the disowned anger and frustration of the people around us.

Eventually, we will be able to hear the feedback that others have to offer, taking in anything that might actually be constructive, and releasing that which has nothing to do with us. First, though, we tend ourselves compassionately by recognizing when we can’t take something in from the outside without hurting ourselves. This is when we make like a duck, shaking it off and letting it roll off our back as we continue our way in the world. 

How do you provide criticism? Do you critique people in a curt and blunt manner, or are you able to provide criticism that is both useful and tactful? 


  Power of Forgiveness

your inner critic





  AddThis Social Bookmark Button