Something that I have been working on lately is to stop myself from criticizing the people around me. From what I have experienced, it rarely ever works anyways. That’s because usually the people who need the criticism the most are the ones who rarely ever listen to it. Of course, there are people out there who need it and realize that criticism is really meant to help them, but this is generally not the case.
But my criticism’s ineffectiveness isn’t the only reason why I am stopping myself from doing it. I have a much more selfish reason behind it. And it is: I should focus on helping myself before trying to help others. What I mean by this is if I am criticizing someone for being lazy, and I know that I too can have my lazy moments, then I should focus my energy on fixing that instead of criticizing somebody who will probably not even listen to what I have to say. This will help me become a better person and will guarantee that my efforts are not wasted.
After all, if I can relate to the person’s flaw, what makes me think that I am even in a position to criticize them in the first place? And even if I did think I was in a position to criticize the flaw, the other person more than likely wouldn’t listen to what I have to say because it would be seem hypocritical. I don’t believe in the whole “Do as I say not as I do” philosophy that some people (a lot of parents) have because its just really hard to respect that.
With all these reasons for why I shouldn’t criticize people you’d think it would be easy for me not to do. But for some reason its not. I think it might be because when we are around the same people everyday the old saying of “familiarity breeds contempt” comes into play. So when you see the same flaw over and over again it can become frustrating because you just grow tired of seeing it. This is especially true for me when its somebody that I care about. It’s like I know that the criticism will go in one ear and out the other, but sometimes it feels like staying quiet is like turning my back on them.
But at the same time criticizing them can lead to hurt feelings and put tension on your relationship. That’s why now I just try to lead by example. Because in the end the only person you can really control is yourself. And by leading by example, you might just inspire the other person to follow suit. And if this doesn’t happen, at least they will gain some respect for you (for overcoming the flaw yourself) and in turn might be more receptive to your advice. And if this doesn’t happen, at least you will have improved yourself and will not have completely wasted your time. It’s a win-win.