Is Criticism A Good Thing?

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It always seems like in whatever you do, people will always have something to tell you. There are times that they will admire you and there are times that they will criticize you. People are quick to say words that won’t be encouraging, instead belittling to the receiving end. It is what we call, “responding to stimuli”. We, humans react to whatever we hear, see or feel. If we find something unusual or wrong with anyone or anything, we naturally make our criticism or judgement.

Wikipedia defines criticism as the practice of judging the merits and faults of something (or somebody) in an intelligible (or articulate) way.

Criticism is based on someone’s perception and observation. It could be both positive and negative. It is positive if the person giving comments or judgements is focused on someone’s strengths and gives words of encouragement and motivation. It becomes negative if the critic is hurting the other person’s feelings by giving insensitive comments or just simply telling the truth. The real definition of criticism depends on how someone gives it and how someone (being criticized) takes it. Criticism can be destructive or constructive. It hurts us and can destroy us if we only expect the merits from what we have said or done. On the other hand, criticism motivates and encourages us to be more careful with our actions and use it to make us become better individuals.

Nobody is perfect, indeed. No one can ever be perfect. Only a fool would think that he is perfect. Although, there is perfect timing. A perfect timing at a situation or at a person’s mood. For example, it will be so kind of you to comfort a friend that you haven’t talked in a while when one of his or her family members is in a very difficult situation – a matter of life and death. It would be great if you could offer food, shelter or money to a person who critically needs it. We become generous and kind to our fellowmen when we know where they’re coming from. Instead of criticizing, we choose to help them because we know exactly what they’re going through. You may not believe in God but I would like to share this verse from the bible when Apostle Paul preached to the Galatians.

Galatians 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Why do we criticize one another?

People criticize others mainly because of misunderstanding, disrespect, insecurity and pride. All of us living in this world are guilty of judging anyone or anything that is beyond what we usually witness in our daily lives. We even criticize our parents, siblings, friends and everyone around us. Sometimes we also criticize popular people, albeit they have a pleasant personality, do good things and help the community. (a)That is because we don’t understand them at times. It is human nature that we complain about anyone or anything that doesn’t suit the situation. (b)You can’t appreciate someone’s success or accomplishments because you are blinded by your disrespect to that specific person. You don’t have an open mind on what a person can accomplish in his life. Instead of admiring, you discredit him. (c)You don’t want to appreciate other people’s ability, skills and talent and you’d rather rebuke them only because it hurts your ego and pride. You look down on someone and when that person has done something excellent, you still won’t recognize it. No matter what the person has proven not only to himself but also to the society.

It doesn’t happen all the time that our judgement or criticism is true and correct. Sometimes we just base our criticism on our feelings toward someone and anything that the person possesses that doesn’t impress us. Anytime you notice that a person’s behavior is unacceptable and annoying to you, you judge him immediately. Without having any sense of consideration, you assume that their way is wrong and yours is right, whereas you can just try to understand them in the first place, give them respect, forget about pride and throw away any insecurity. Most of the time, the word “criticism” gets abused and its meaning changes into something appalling. It becomes a result of a person’s pessimism towards things.

Here is a quote from Mahatma Gandhi for us to ponder on: “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”

Who do we criticize in our environment?

Whoever you are, whichever walk of life you come from, you deal with criticism every hour in every day of your life. From our government to show business, sport industry, religions and churches, school, office and our home: it is ubiquitous. We breathe it and live with it. But let’s not go any further, let’s focus on the most powerful thing in the world – the internet, which apparently powers social media.

The following are based on real-life situations:

1. There are a few people who frequently post selfies (self-portrait photograph) that are not quite aesthetically pleasant – usually with the caption, “I’m so haggard”, “I’m fat”, “Oh, my eye bags!”

2. One guy complains about anything that he sees in his surroundings. He posts them on Facebook and Instagram and feel proud about it, saying he is just being true to himself – either you hate him or like him.

3. A friend of ours talks about special things in her fancy life that seems to be more about fantasy.

4. Some guys post much of their activities and interests (fitness and sports) on their social media accounts showing off their bodies and their physical abilities.

5. There are some people who constantly post their new shoes, bags, watches and the places (especially restaurants) they go to.

If you can think of anything else, feel free to add it on the list. It’s your call. Choose which ones deserve criticism and which ones don’t. Weigh things up, think if somebody needs to stop a bad habit, if they’re beyond normal or you may just be annoyed because something hurts your ego. Either we think comprehensively before speaking or simply making comments, anybody or anything that deserves admiration or compliments should get it. As well as the ones that deserve assessment should. We are all entitled to our opinion. But another thing to consider is that when someone is careful enough of their actions, he or she would always be ready to listen to any criticism and would always take it positively.

We can never change nature. Us, wanting to cross out the word criticism in our vocabulary is like wishing for the night to never come at all. It is part of our lives, we have to embrace it, learn from it and make it a driving force to continually mold us into a better person each passing day. And as I end here, I’ll leave you with these questions: With your experiences in life, how do you find criticism? How do you deal with it? Do you have an open mind for any negative feedback? What are you willing to do to change your bad attitude?

Regarding the topic, I am apparently expecting criticism and will end with these words:

“I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don’t hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world, but I know who I am.” – Paulo Coelho

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Source by Art Forrosuelo