Conquering Criticism in Three Parts: Criticizing the World, Criticizing Partners and Family, and Criticizing Yourself–
Bet you thought this was going to be about those mean other people who criticize you and how you can get them to stop. Wrong. Anyway, convincing someone else to not criticize with like emptying the Pacific Ocean with a tiny plastic fork.
Dateline: The Janis Joplin Room at Threadgill’s North in Austin, Texas. If you are ever in this fair city–and judging by the traffic–you will be, Threadgill’s is the only choice to experience the real Austin.
Criticizing Society and the World is a Full Time Job (And I’ve already applied and cinched the position.)
How do you know you’re not feeling so hot about yourself? How do you know when you are not so comfortable about your place in life?
That one’s easy. You will notice that you are criticizing the world and pieces of the society of which you are a part. The essential element is that you are not comfortable and are attempting to rid yourself of that anxiety with a ‘superiority’ play. If you don’t think you can recognize this anxiety reducing mechanism, notice when your face is in a scowl, your heart picks up a beat, and your conversation is sprinkled with terms like: the government; those idiot liberals; those stupid conservatives; the corporations; ‘those’ people (take your pick); ‘back when I was growing up… and ‘kids today.
My reliable favorites: social media hijacker machines, commercials that lie, commercials that exploit emotions and insecurities, commercials that encourage people to go into debt, commercials that exploit by cranking out ‘free’ offers or silly disguise for pushy tactics. And, oh yea, pop-up adds you can’t figure out how to get out of when all you wanted was an updated score on the game. At one marketing conference the lead topic was How to Hijack the Websites of Competitors so that the person looking for the site will give up and look at your proud commercial.
Okay. Now what was I saying before I went off criticizing . . . Oh yeah. It doesn’t matter if you agree with me on the objects of my disdain. It doesn’t matter if we are right that these commercials are predatory, time-stealing, and patently obnoxious. What matters is what goes on inside our bodies when we launch our bitter opinions. Lots happens with our endocrine systems and none of it’s good.
This is not to discourage anyone who is willing to legitimately put his or her time and money into making changes in exploitative practices. By all means, go for it. However, for most of us, we are just ‘venting.’ Long ago when psychology was touchy-feely and more like picking out sympathetic friends in a bus station—‘venting’ was seen as a good way to clear nasty emotions and, worse still, to make sure everyone who you believe ever wronged you know just how you feel. The idea was to have closer relationships. This did not work.
Stop Gap Solution for the Maturity-Challenged: Each of us needs a very special friend or therapist to whom we can let out our emotion-driven ‘thoughts’ without holding it against us. To never go on a complaining binge is a hard trudge on the high road. Personally, I’m not that mature. Luckily I have a couple of friendships (must be people who are not in the emotional field with the person or persons you want to rip to pieces) in which we have a declares venting. Say whatever you want and he or she will forget it immediately. He or she knows you so well that they know that while you are being a self-centered turkey, you will return to normal.
T-Shirt Caption: “If you don’t have something nice to say, keep your mouth shut. . . Unless it’s about my ex-husband in which case, let’er rip!”
NEXT: The Critical Monster in Close Relationships. “The Psychologist Who Remodeled Her Kitchen and No One Came.”