Being too critical towards the people around you can pave the way for conflicts and misunderstandings. Here’s how you can change that.
To be honest, I used to find that being critical and judgmental is far simpler and way more fun than making the effort to actually help someone out of a jam. I’m sure that many of you feel the same way. It’s also way more fun to sit around with friends and bitch about others than to discuss global events. From gossiping about what he said and she did, to complaining about neighbors being bad parents for letting their kids watch television at 11 pm, I was guilty of being a very critical person.
With that being said, a massive change in mentality and lifestyle, as well as surrounding myself with positive people made me realize that being critical was simply my way of compensating for my flaws. I convinced myself that I could somehow tell when someone else’s life was far worse than mine, giving me the power to criticize and let them know that I could do it better. Talk about making up for one’s shortcomings, eh?
It took me a while to get to where I am, but ever since I slashed the horrible habit of gossiping out of my life, I found that being a brown noser was no longer as fun as it was. I realized that the less time I spent being critical of others, the more time I had to focus on myself and improving my life.
I won’t go so far as to say that slicing out gossiping was all that I did to live an improved life. However, I can honestly say that I’m a much happier person than I was before I made those changes. Being less judgmental and critical of those I cared about certainly played a role in making me feel much better about myself and my life choices.
How to stop being so critical towards others
If you want to stop pinpointing others’ shortcomings and start focusing on being a more positive person, here are 8 ways you can do that.
#1 Empathize. Before criticizing or judging anyone, put yourself in their shoes. There has to be a reason why they’re behaving in a certain manner, and if you can’t come up with plausible reasons why, you shouldn’t judge. Everyone has their reasons for doing something. Whether they are pursuing happiness and not caring about what others think, or they are doing something for someone else at their own expense, you don’t have the right to judge, if you don’t know why they’re doing it.
Sure, there are some things that are inherently wrong and don’t need any questioning, such as animal poaching, child trafficking, rape and other criminal issues, but seriously, how many animal poachers and child traffickers do you have in your inner circle anyway? Unless it’s a crime and there’s a clear-cut right side and wrong side, do everyone a favor and stop being so critical of their life choices. [Read: 7 reasons empathy is important in any relationship]
#2 You’re not the boss of them. Remember that you’re not the boss of them. Nothing gives you the right to tell someone else that you know better than them. Unless you’re the foremost expert in molecular neurobiology, specializing in quantitative particles or something along those lines, you have no right to tell someone that they’re living their life all wrong. Even so, you should only be preaching about issues related to molecular neurobiology, specializing in quantitative particles.
So unless you really know what you’re saying and doing, you truly don’t know any better than the next person, giving you zero right to judge someone else. Remember that it’s their life to live, not yours and no matter how much you care for this person, being critical isn’t going to get either of you anywhere.
#3 Get all the facts first. Before going on an all-out rampage to shove someone off the path that they have chosen to take, get all your facts straight. Most of the time, we judge people without knowing the whole story. For example, Winnie and Natasha were gossiping about Seldon’s girlfriend, claiming that a mutual friend had seen her out and about with another guy.
They bad mouthed her to the point that everyone within their social circle knew what had happened, and in typical “blind leading the blind” fashion, everyone was outraged at her cheating ass. Little did they know that Seldon and she had already broken up months ago, and the guy she was with was her cousin.
If the snide gossip queens had taken the time and effort to speak to Seldon before declaring war, they could have saved everyone a whole lot of unnecessary drama. All that this situation has done is seal their fates as gossip mongers and tarnish their reputation.
#4 Replace criticism with praise. Another way to be less critical of those around you is to try your level best to replace criticism with praise, or at least try to tone down the brutal truth. There’s no need for you to hurt anyone’s feelings and to bring them down.
Instead of saying, “That dress has too many sequins, and it makes you look like a disco ball”, you should say, “Wow, you’re certainly shining bright like a diamond tonight! I’m glad I won’t lose you on the dance floor.” It states the facts without being mean, so you don’t have to worry about lying to those you care about just to make them feel better.
#5 Be more positive. Another way to be less critical is to instill positivity in yourself. Before saying something, ask yourself what your statement will do to this person. If it will bring them down, don’t say it, but if it will lift them up, then go for it.
It is a fact that when you’re happy, you tend to have less nasty things to say about others. The fact that you’re feeling great about yourself will make you feel more inclined to pass on the good vibes through compliments and affirmative statements. Always opt to lift people up instead of tearing them down. [Read: How to banish negativity with positive self-talk]
#6 Know the difference between criticism and advice. It is also very important for you to know the difference between being critical and offering advice to those you care about. Being critical is when you inundate someone with all the negatives, without offering them help. Advice, on the other hand, is the same thing, but you make the additional effort to positively support and help the person make things right.
For example, being critical is when you berate your best friend for going back to the guy who cheated on her, and in the process make her feel even more lousy about her situation. Being supportive, on the other hand, entails you berating her but giving her advice on how to make it out alive. [Read: 9 ways to master the art of constructive criticism]
#7 Be happy with yourself. Most of the time, people judge and criticize others, because they aren’t happy with their own lives. In a bid to compensate for their inability to control what’s happening to themselves, they channel their energy towards trying to “fix” someone else. This is most often seen in directionless people who are unmotivated or unable to make a change themselves. Always remember that if your life is shitty, there’s no need for you to assume that everyone else’s is too. Work on yourself before trying to meddle in other people’s beeswax. [Read: 11 tips to fall in love with yourself and be a better you]
#8 Realize that there are more important things in the world. Another great tip on how to be less critical of those you care about is to realize that there are more important things in the world than focusing on all the petty stuff. Life’s way too short, so why don’t you just get a life and stop trying to control someone else’s?
Channel your energy towards other things, instead of focusing on what others around you are doing. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to navigate through the incredibly complex maze that is life and surprise, you’re just as clueless as everyone else. [Read: 16 signs you’re being an attention whore]
Ultimately, you don’t want someone you care about judging and criticizing what you consider to be sound decisions, right? So don’t do it to others. Remember that you are the judge and jury of your own life, and the same can be said for those around you.
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Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the wor...