A Month of Letting Go - Criticism

Throughout January, we’re going to talk about releasing.  To make room for abundance, joy, balance, and peace, it’s important to let go of the old stuff that no longer serves your highest good.  January is a great time to take a personal inventory and set a solid foundation for the year ahead.  What elements of your life make you feel good?  What elements deplete you?  To the latter, I say, “Thank you, but I don’t need you any more.  Bye now.” 

Check out our previous posts on releasing negativity, scarcity, and the past.

#4 Criticism

In the course of an average day, how often do you judge people?  It’s pretty normal to go through the day thinking, “Ugh.  That was a dumb thing to say…Why would they do it that way?…That guy’s hat is stupid…Does she not own a mirror?!…What an idiot…”  Most of these judging thoughts go unspoken, but you hear them.

That guy’s hat may indeed be stupid, and your coworker may have the worst visible panty lines in town, but unfortunately, by judging them, you’re only hurting yourself.  Here’s why:

  1. When you’re being judgmental or critical, you’re focusing on the negative, which leaves less room in your consciousness to acknowledge goodness and gratitude.  And gratitude is the foundation for joy. 
  2. Your thoughts create your reality, so whatever energy you’re putting out is what comes back to you.  Walking around being critical or crabby creates criticism and crabbiness coming your way.
  3. How you either accept or criticize others is a mirror of how you either accept or criticize yourself.  In other words, if you’re someone who thinks unkind things about others, it is a telling reflection that you aren’t usually very kind to you.  That’s a problem.

 

So what to do about it?  Thought patterns are often deeply ingrained, as hard to change as any bad habit.  You can absolutely change your thought patterns, but it takes some work and commitment.  Some suggestions to get started:

  1. Practice mindfulness.  Just observe what is happening without judgment, both around you and within you.  It’s not good or bad.  It just is.
  2. Focus your attention on the good.  There is something to be grateful for in every moment.  You just have to choose to see it.
  3. Watch your words.  If you hear yourself being critical or negative (especially to yourself), make a conscious decision to push that thought out with a positive one.  
  4. Eliminate all comparison.  There’s always going to be someone who is richer and prettier and has more toned arms than you.  So what?!  She’s probably got all kinds of problems of her own.  Just be the best you that you can and give yourself a break.
  5. Decide what kind of person you want to be.  In any given situation, make a conscious choice about whether you want to show up with snark or with kindness.  
  6. Have compassion.  Everyone (including you) is doing the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt.
  7. Don’t assume.  We can’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.  Again, everyone’s doing the best they can.
  8. Ditch perfectionism.  Perfectionism is the opposite of gratitude and is a form of self-abuse.  More on this later.
  9. Understand that mistakes equal learning.  You didn’t fail, you were just practicing.
  10. Let it go.  Most of the details that you find yourself criticizing really don’t matter anyway.  Let’s agree to focus on the stuff that does matter.

 

Most of us live with a mean voice in our heads.  It’s time to quiet that voice mindfully and joyfully. If your inner critic is being awful to you, give me a shout - I would love to help.