It bugs me the way the scare of criticism is used to stop discussions instead of moving discussions forward. It seems like we are so afraid to make offenses that we are moving backwards instead of forward.
So let’s define the basics. What is criticism? Do you have a clear idea what it actually is?
So the book definition is as follows:
: the act of expressing disapproval and of noting the problems or faults of a person or thing
: the act of criticizing someone or something
: a remark or comment that expresses disapproval of someone or something
I would like to add another dimension to criticism that I think very few are aware of.
Bhakti is feelings of love in different varieties. What if the danger of criticism is linked to the feelings that criticism gives?
So if one is able to criticize, but know how to do this with love…. Then that may be one of the reasons why a pure devotee can criticize, but most people not. The keyword here is to criticize with the correct intention. If you have the correct intention – then the correct feeling naturally follows.
You see, never criticize to hurt another person. You criticize to help them, but you do it in a very careful way where it’s not about you and your feelings/ego. I don’t even like using the word criticism because what I usually try to do is to hint about direction of where I think things should be going. Rarely I take the direct approach (which is prone to backfire), but people very quickly catch on that I mean them no harm because they see it in my manners, in how I look at them. That I care about them.
When receiving criticism, make sure to check a persons intention.If the intention is good, something interesting can come out of it. Don’t use the fear of criticism to stop what can be a good discussion. Instead, deal with criticism in a mature way. Take the discussion, sit with the uncomfortableness of it when it gets heated and a bit ugly because that’s where the most learning can be for all parties. This approach does require a very mature person, though. But don’t use fear of criticism to stop what can be a good discussion. Learn how to use a discussion to enhance people.
Learn to say you are sorry when you see that you have made an error in your dealings, and don’t expect gracefulness back.
Criticism is dangerous, that’s why we need to have good understanding of what it is, how to wield it and use it in a constructive way.
Which I rarely see, but I wish it was a quality that people could try to understand and develop. Then discussions would take on a whole different level of maturity, and of really trying to understand others point of view. Then criticism will actually disappear because it will instead be a sharing of hearts with the wonderful understanding that sometimes we agree to disagree and that is okey.