Regulating Criticism

 

Criticism may be aimed at oneself, other people or things. Criticism is useful when important changes in one’s behaviour or others are needed. However, chronic severe criticism often leads to low self-esteem, loss of motivation, anxiety, depression and strained relationships.

Examples

  • Mild self-criticism suits wearing mismatched socks or accidentally dropping a pen.
     

  • Moderate self-criticism suits locking your keys in your car or missing an important bill payment.
     

  • Severe self-criticism suits speeding through a school zone or betraying your spouse.
     

  • Mild criticism of others suits having to wait for someone prior to a time-sensitive event or being gently bumped by a stranger in a crowd.
     

  • Moderate criticism of others suits the person who carelessly dents your vehicle in a parking lot or sales staff who provide poor service.
     

  • Severe criticism of others suits people who place you or your loved ones in danger such as drunk drivers or careless physicians.

 

Regulating Criticism Begins With Self Monitoring

 

When critical ask yourself:
 

  • Is the focus of your criticism aimed at yourself, others or things?
     

  • What emotion(s) do you feel such as anger, anxiety, sadness etc?
     

  • Is your criticism mild, moderate or severe?
     

  • Is your criticism fair? Does it match the mistake?

If your self-criticism is overly harsh, in your mind say, “Drop it, it’s not that important.” Relax your abdomen, breathe deeply a few times, and focus your attention on the next task you need to accomplish. Repeat this each time you are too self-critical.


If you judge others too harshly say, “They didn’t mean to upset me this much.” “They aren’t perfect, and neither am I.” Simply “let it go”, breathe deeply, and focus on the next task that serves your purposes.


For example, if you become agitated while waiting in line at a store, choose to give the cashier a break. Say to yourself, They are doing the best they can!” “It’s a boring job.” Breathe deeply and focus on anything else besides the cashier such as products on display, the lighting, and how others are dressed.


 

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.
Thomas Fuller

Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting. William A. Ward


Forgiveness means letting go of the past.
Gerald Jampolsky