Thursday, June 16, 2011

52 Pickup: Criticize with Kindness

Remember, all 52 pickups are open to interpretation. My interpretation might not be the same as yours - make it yours, make it a mantra, make it life lived well.
This week the pickup is:

How often have you heard some criticism of yourself and rejected it without a second thought? Has someone made a comment that, though it might be true, you refused to hear simply because of the way the message was delivered?

This week we're thinking about both our own self-criticisms and the comments we may have for other people - the way we reach out to connect, persuade, or even reprimand. Consider how much more effective your criticisms could be if you coupled them with true, honest kindness. Perhaps you are being self-critical, taking time to address issues you know need addressing – are you doing this with some self-kindness as well?

Perhaps you are a person who takes criticism well, perhaps not - but I'm of the belief that all things done with kindness are more effective and longer lasting than those done in a hurtful manner. Why not try to assuage the natural human reaction to criticism by coupling it with kindness?

Texting while driving terrifies me - and yet how easy is it to reach for a smart phone at a stop light? Luckily we easily ended that temptation when we ditched our smart phones...but I don't expect the whole world to be the same.

A few weeks ago I received a Starbucks gift card in the mail. I decided to go treat myself one day and while I was in the drive through line a younger girl narrowly missed rear-ending me. She then went on to text and play with her smart phone the entire time we were in line. She was so much life left to live, so many great things to do, see, accomplish, so many ways to grow and change - but not if she has a fatal wreck from distracted driving.

When I got to the front of the line I asked for the barista to charge her drink to my gift card as well, and please pass on a message: "Please be safe and stop texting and driving." I won't ever know if she heard the message but I can only hope that by passing along concerned criticism with a kind gesture that she saw past a quick reaction of anger or ignoring and heard the message.

Can you think of a time where criticism was more effective with kindness? Are you too self-critical with no self-kindness?

1 comment:

Tara said...

Well, you know me. I am the queen of trying to smooth down rough edges on a criticism. I'll tell you this much though. Just because criticism can be effective with kindness does not mean it will be less painful to the recipient. I think it's often more-so.

When a criticism is well thought out and executed it indicates that someone has spent a considerable amount of time criticizing and planning how to express their dissatisfied observations. In our acceptance-based society that's a double youch! Not usually an ineffective youch. But still. . .

I think sometimes an offhanded critical remark tossed out casually can be easier to swallow in the following minutes, hours or days. LOL Learning to embrace criticism is a huge goal of mine. Some days I think I've got it down. Other, well, I wish someone would at least offer me a frosty coffee drink to nurse my wounds with. :o)