My mother thought criticism built character. She believed that you need to be completely honest, and for her that meant if you didn’t like something about someone then you told them. What I learned, after years of having a low self esteem due to constant criticism and rarely any praise, that the harm done to one’s spirit through criticism is more harmful than good. For me, criticism is negative energy that serves no purpose. Positive re-inforcement in the form of praise is much more powerful. If someone asks for an opinion find out if they really want an honest answer, of are they looking for a compliment. Teach by example, model positive behavior and allow others’ to have something to live up to.
I learned a very powerful lesson while taking the Dale Carnegie course many years ago that sticks with me daily. Do not criticize, condemn or complain. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Do you practice this? Do you give your children positive affirmations daily for them to live up to?
Recently I leaned another powerful lesson, and that was forgiveness. I held a grudge, hidden anger and resentment towards my mother for her negativity. What I now know is that she was doing what she believed was good parenting. In her heart she believed that she needed to point out every failure so we, as children would know right from wrong. I was guilty of negative behavior by blaming her for her actions. What released me from the bondage of resentment was to make a gratitude journal for my mother. I began writing every positive memory, action that I could remember that I learned from her. If a negative thought came to mind, I simply let it go, I released it, and then I allowed the positive thought to replace it. This journal of appreciation was a healing process for me and a gift for her. I typed it out and presented it to her as my gift as thanks for the lessons she taught me. She has alzheimers and could not remember many of the experiences I wrote about, but it gives her joy, over and over again as she re-reads it.
Teach your children gratitude, appreciation and how to aspire to what they desire. Remove criticism, condemning and complaining from your vocabulary. Live in Joy, happiness and light.