Can I be honest with you? I absolutely hate being criticized. It's one of my biggest pressure points, and probably the number one reason I've spent a majority of my life trying to be ‘perfect’. Although I know it’s a completely unrealistic expectation, for some reason I believed it was attainable.
Yep, it’s true.
And, it’s landed me in trouble a time or two. Like the time my Sunday School teacher called my mom to tell her I had criticized another little girls hairstyle before our big church cantata. Or, the time I decided to be negative about another girl in the youth group to a bunch of girls in the bathroom (not realizing she was in the bathroom stall). And, I won’t get into all the times I’ve done it as an adult. You’ll just have trust me on that one.
Now a-days, I refer to myself as a ‘perfectionist in recovery’. Meaning I’ve spent many years trying to overcome my critical nature, and negative mindset. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized where it all started, and just how I could start to change my mindset.
So friend, can you relate?
Maybe you clicked on the blog out of curiosity. But, perhaps you may be like me and wonder if your critical nature is keeping you from accomplishing your purpose. So, before I go any further, I do want to offer some encouragement — there is hope! If you do find that you struggle with a critical mindset, you can work to turn it around. But, it will take some serious work.
So maybe you are asking, 'how do I know whether or not I am too critical?’
Here are five traits of someone who has fallen into the cycle of negativity:
- Holding yourself or others to unrealistic expectations.
- Talking negatively about someone to feel better about yourself.
- Complaining about your situation when you have the power to change it.
- Having the need to fix others, to make yourself look good.
- Getting frustrated with others (and yourself) when things don’t go your way.
And, those are just a start. Maybe you see yourself in all or some of those things. If you do, it’s time to take the first step which — acknowledge that you can choose to be positive.
The need to criticize comes ourselves and others comes from a place of pain, and keeps us bound up in hurt, and unforgiveness. When we give in to it, we are actually sabotaging our own destiny. It’s not that we want to be critical, it’s more that we don’t want to acknowledge the deficiency we see in our own lives. Instead we focus that all that negative energy on what is not working, rather than towards what is possible. The result is shame and condemnation.
When is the last time, you allowed shame to take the place of empathy? First towards yourself, and then towards others. Stepping into true vulnerability is the only way to release ourselves from the negativity that we become trapped in. Vulnerability can be a difficult thing, because it requires us to release ourselves from the pressure of being who we think we need to be, in order to be who God made us to be.
Now that you have taken the first step, it’s time follow through. I have created a worksheet to guide you through the process of reversing this negative cycle in your life. This is something that I do on a daily basis, and I believe it will help you as well. Click on the button to download it.