Criticism is the white sugar of relationships

Our society’s norm has become to instantly criticize anything that the public encounters.

People have developed a zero tolerance policy for ideas that are different from their own, and so, their default response is to throw negative energy at others.

If you haven’t been paying attention, here’s their strategy.

Focus on what’s wrong, imply the worst, cast blame, try to control, devalue people.

People actually think this works. Probably because it makes them feel better. And yet, criticism is clearly an utter failure at getting positive behavior change.

Think about the last person you criticized. Hell, think about the last person that criticized you.

It didn’t move the needle. It made people resentful, defensive and angry.

There are some who say they love criticism because it makes them stronger and helps them level up. They are masochists.

While researching this topic, I stumbled across an old farming magazine article from over a hundred years ago that says, quite eloquently, the stream that flows on gently without obstruction develop no power, and the way to get power out of that stream is to dam it.

Indeed, that may work for agriculture, but human beings aren’t quite that simple.

Criticism is the white sugar of relationships. It’s pure junk food.

Sure, we may get a temporary energy spike from it. And it can be quite delicious. But just like eating an entire box of cookies doesn’t actually nourish you, criticizing others also creates a net negative contribution.

That’s why so many of us come to tailor our lives to avoid it.

Stosny, the psychologist who counsels families on empowered love, summarizes it succinctly in his book.

The valued self cooperates, but the devalued self resists.

Which describes how you treat others?

If you’re smart enough to have figured out that criticism doesn’t work, here’s my recommendation.

Go on a fast. Abstain from criticism for one day. Resolve that you will criticize nothing that occurs. Imagine everything that happens is for your good and the good of the world.

Even if the movie is trash and the takeout food is bland, go out of your way to give attention to the celebration of the upside.

What do you have to lose? What possible value does criticism actually add to yours or other people’s lives?

People can only process so much negative emotion, and there’s no need to add to the pile. Somebody has to help increase the net flourishing of vitality in the world, and may as well be you.

Enough white sugar. Spend your time trying to elevate the planet by uplifting others.

Spend your time acknowledging and celebrating all the things you love about others.

You will become a strong influencer of positive change and genuine kindness to those around you. 

What if you went on a criticism fast?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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