Criticism feeds the ego
“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Do we sometimes let criticizing others overtake us? Whether it’s criticism of a friend, colleague, or even someone you don’t know that well, it can be easy to judge others for their faults, without reflecting on our own. When we criticize another person, we are essentially casting judgment. We must be careful when judging because satan can invite us to feel superior in the process. This process is usually led by the ego and in my experience, where the ego is involved, frustration usually follows.
The question to ask is why do we feel the need to feel superior in the first place? Of the righteous and GOD loving, and inspiring people that I have met over the years, I’ve found they have shown an air of humility. They didn’t need to criticize others to make themselves feel better. Why feed the ego or try to put down others?
[9:58] Some of them criticize your distribution of the charities; if they are given therefrom, they become satisfied, but if they are not given therefrom, they become objectors.
[9:79] Those who criticize the generous believers for giving too much, and ridicule the poor believers for giving too little, GOD despises them. They have incurred a painful retribution.
It can be so easy to look at others and pick apart their faults, but what does this really achieve? Or is it simply a diversion away from our own self-development and personal growth?
I see that there can be something addictive about pulling to pieces someone else’s worst faults and all the negative aspects of their personality, but how is this really helping them?
[6:69] The righteous are not responsible for the utterances of those people, but it may help to remind them; perhaps they may be saved.
[6:70] You shall disregard those who take their religion in vain, as if it is a social function, and are totally absorbed in this worldly life. Remind with this (Quran), lest a soul may suffer the consequences of its evil earnings. It has none beside GOD as a Lord and Master, nor an intercessor.
[87:9] Therefore, you shall remind; perhaps the reminder will benefit.
What’s more, when we criticize others it’s likely that we do so without knowing the full story. We won’t know why other people behave in such a way, what childhood situations may have contributed to their behavior and what other factors are involved. So, we’re essentially judging based on misinformation. For this reason, it may be best to reserve judgment, or instead to offer support, or simply keep quiet and get on with the job of perfecting our own lives.
If you think about it, criticism is negative thinking in action. When we focus on the negative qualities of other people, we are allowing negative thoughts to enter the brain. The more you criticize, the more comfortable your mind becomes with negativity and the more this starts to spill over into other areas of your life. Before you know it, you’re a negative human being and an objector; not a submitter.
If you know that negative thinking is something that you struggle with, this could be a good opportunity to make a concerted effort to criticize less and train your mind to only focus on helpful, positive thoughts instead of negative ones
How often does criticism lead to real solutions? And how often do we approach the offenders with an impartial offering that will actually help their situation? Or do we simply judge behind backs?
At this point it’s important to make clear the difference between criticism and impartial observation. Criticism usually takes the form of negative analysis of another person’s behavior and is rarely useful, whereas impartial observation includes a neutral analysis of another person’s behavior and often comes with solutions, with God’s help. Another key differentiator is that criticism carries with it an air of superiority and emotional undercurrents (such as anger and frustration), whereas impartial observation remains neutral and humble in approach. We know that there is no fear or grief with GOD.
[3:159] It was mercy from GOD that you became compassionate towards them. Had you been harsh and mean-hearted, they would have abandoned you. Therefore, you shall pardon them and ask forgiveness for them, and consult them. Once you make a decision, carry out your plan, and trust in GOD. GOD loves those who trust in Him.
May GOD help me and us to criticize others less and to opt for impartial observation, but only where we feel a solution can be offered. May GOD help us work on our own personal growth, God willing, and attempt to leave reproach behind.
The thing is, nobody’s perfect. We all have our own challenges to work on and what we really need is a helping hand from those around us, not talking behind backs. Plus, if you have ever met someone who is truly comfortable in their own skin, then you’ll know that they practice humility. And this is something far more beneficial to work on, instead of criticism.
Adapted by from http://simplelifestrategies.com/6-steps-to-reduce-the-negative-effects-of-criticism/