Criticizing is a cozy defense against joy.
It’s a strategy that we use to protect our egos and assert our intelligence and make ourselves feel strong.
When really, we’re just attached to our own cleverness. Hanging onto it like a life preserver, believing that without it we will surely drown.
After all, who are we without all of our brilliant remarks and precious opinions? We simply must be spectacular to be safe in this world. We simply must play our special role as the insightful outsider who observes and judges everything. Otherwise we will be forgotten and left behind.
The other option is to choose. To surrender into the moment. To ease into our humanity. And to allow the world to soften our hearts like a meat tenderizer.
It’s a much more vulnerable place to be, but as long as we suspend our critical minds long enough, joy can have free reign.
Bruyere, the famous moralist and philosopher, once said that the pleasure of criticizing robs us of the pleasure of being moved by some very fine things.
And so, the choice is always ours.
We can enjoy the things other people create, without the compulsive need to spot check everything for imperfections and inconsistencies.
We can cry and let our tears honor the things we love, without draining everything of its power to affect us.
We can allow ourselves to experience the aesthetic arrest of beauty, without always asserting our opinions and judgments.
It depends how vulnerable we’re willing to be. Sure, it’s much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. But then again, how many critics do you remember from the last century?
The point is, enjoying is one of those gifts we give to ourselves. And so, next time you reach for your critical arrow, consider making yourself open, raw, tender and real by loving something instead.
LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What is your best defense against joy?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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