7 Day Shift Your Mindset Challenge-Criticism
Day 2-Avoid Being Critical
Today I worked to avoid being critical to my fiance and my son. I have an unconscious habit of asking questions or pointing out things that aren’t right, or should I say aren’t up to MY standards. Logically, I know my way is not necessarily the right or only way, but this is the message I realize I am sending at times. As a result, the theme for Day 2 of the 7 Day Shift Your Mindset Challenge-Criticism.
Those of you who are fortunate enough to not have this undesirable trait, please understand it’s an unconscious behavior pattern that is not indicative of someone’s heart. I know my own heart, and because of that, I don’t want that unconscious pattern to be a part of who I am anymore.
If you have a history of living with a critical loved one, you’d think it would be easy to not repeat the same pattern. But for some of us, it’s one of those things that becomes ingrained–an unconscious habit. If you grew up with it, you’ve probably become numb to it, but it is very damaging to other’s self esteem, especially our kids’.
Effects of Being Too Critical
Our loved ones have a special bond with us, and they value our opinions of them over anyone else’s. When we constantly criticize them or their actions, we are chipping away at their self esteem. Over time they may become very resentful or stop listening to you–everything you say will be met with defensiveness, even if you truly are just communicating a need or asking for help.
What I am trying to realize is that not every thought needs to be voiced. And everything doesn’t need to meet our expectations. Yes, I know this is obvious to the logical part of the mind, but my fellow self-aware control freaks out there know what I am talking about.
What’s the Lesson?
So the next time your spouse helps out with a household chore, try to appreciate the effort rather than criticize the manner in which it’s being done. Loading the dishwasher is a hard one for me! But I try to focus on the end result…. if the dishes come out clean, AND I didn’t have to load them, that’s what matters! Acknowledge the attempt and appreciate him for it!
If your child goes to school with the same pants he’s been wearing for three days, instead of giving him a disapproving look, find a nice or joking way to bring it to his attention. If your daughter brings home less-than-stellar grades, approach her from a place of helpfulness, rather than discipline. You may find out she is struggling with something more serious than laziness.
Since my fiance and I have merged our families, he has patiently taught me by example that I don’t need to communicate harshly to enforce the rules. I don’t need to yell in order to be heard. In fact, we just have to keep communicating with an angry and critical voice to GUARANTEE we won’t be heard.
How Did It Go?
As I reflect on the results of day 2 of the 7 Day Shift Your Mindset Challenge-Criticism, I noticed the mood in my house was much lighter this evening. I could see my son’s face relax when I simply hugged him and asked how his day was. I’m sure he was expecting me to grill him with the usual questions about missing work and bad grades as I usually do.
When my somewhat OCD fiance did his usual routine of opening the dishwasher during the drying cycle to “pre-dry” the dishes, I smiled and thanked him for taking care of the dishes. 🙂 His face lit up with half surprise. I guess that made it worth the pain of biting my tongue! haha!
Check back tomorrow to see how Day 3 of my 7 Day Shift Your Mindset Challenge goes.