My job sucks, I don’t like my boss. I hate my politician. I don’t think I can ever lose weight. There is no diet plan that works for me. These are just a few criticisms, we “mere mortals” harp on everyday. If we analyze our lives closely we will find that not only do we have an opinion on everything under the sun, but the opinion is mostly negative. Social media is a big testament of that fact. Log on to facebook and twitter, and you will know what I mean.
As a sports and a fitness coach I see a lot of self bashing. Over indulgence in criticism is a big reason why we limit of our abilities. These are some of the criticisms I have heard on the field.
- My athletic ability is not improving, it’s not meant to be.
- I cannot even run 400 metres. I am good for nothing.
- I am not losing weight. It will never happen.
Constant criticism of ourselves and others limits us in 2 major ways.
- Limits our experiences: The more experiences we have in life, the richer our life becomes. It is not the age that make us wiser, but the varying experiences we encounter. However, constant criticism puts us in a state of negative emotion and that further dampens our desire to try different things and meet new people. After all, we all want to avoid negativity, don’t we?
- Takes away our support system: Behind every achievement there is a team of people. Think of anything you have ever achieved and then think about how many people were involved. You did not achieve anything alone, there was always a support system present at all times. When we criticize, we draw people away from us. Not only the ones we criticize are drawn away, but also the ones who witness criticism. Would you like to hang out with a friend who is always criticizing?
All we do during the process of criticism is put a ceiling above us, thereby limiting our growth. Wouldn’t it be great if we can somehow magically stop criticizing ourselves and others? Accepting and embracing people and events as they are. I decided to change things in my life a few years ago, and since then it has worked wonders not only for me, but for others around me. Here’s what I did.
Recognize what you feel: Realization is always the first step. Simply paying attention to what you are thinking at a particular moment will get you closer to getting rid of criticizing.
Accept and embrace: Accept things and people as they are and that will go a long way in coming out of the criticism loop. Let all the negativity you hold meltdown, and the moment you realize that things are getting messy, hold yourself back to pass any judgments.
Use social media as your strength: Social media has truly changed how we interact with the world, and we have almost come a full circle. We started with a lot of enthusiasm, but eventually burnouts and psychological issues started coming to the forefront. Sharing content that’s positive and motivates others will create the snowball effect of positivity. One can always find ways of putting forth ideas and views without sounding judgmental or negative. Think before you post.
Criticism fast: Many cultures around the world observe food/water fasting at various times of the year and most of it is for religious reasons. The scientific rationale behind fasting is that it helps detoxify the body by giving our metabolism rest from the usual churning. What if we can detoxify our minds from time to time? That’s what I did 1 day a week a few years ago and now it’s a part of my everyday life. One day a week you will not pass judgments, but accept, embrace and not criticize anyone or anything.
I truly believe that we have the power to change our lives for the better. A lot of our problems in today’s times are caused due to criticism in various forms. Let’s all try and make small changes in how we think and act. Let’s make each day “A day without criticism”