You can complain about something or you can do something about it. Doing something is effective, complaining is not. You can take responsibility for your life or you can blame the conditions when you were too young to make choices. You can blame your history or use the wisdom you learned from it to create a better future. You can criticize your parents for their ignorance or dedicate your life to over coming your own.
You can criticize others, but criticism is no guaranteed betterment, it is just criticism. Look closely at your own habits. Are the things you criticize in others ever a reflection of your own behavior? Why do you criticize? What does it do for you? What are you trying to prove to others or to yourself? Criticism doesnít benefit anyone unless itís done with honest compassion to uplift, improve and assist in improving anotherís ability through admiration of that ability as well as respect for the person to whom you are giving constructive criticism. Criticism given with out these qualities is more destructive than constructive.
You can build self esteem or you can destroy it, depending on your approach. If you are not building self esteem, ask yourself why. Perhaps you need to take a long hard look at your own self esteem. When were you on the receiving end of negative criticism? How did that feel? Donít you think itís time to stop the destructive cycle? Criticism is not superiority. Arrogance is never class and compassion is more powerful than force will ever be, because compassion enlists the heart, the reason and the emotion of those to whom it is extended. It holds within it no natural repulsion, no need for revenge and no need to escape.
It is natural to be drawn to those who are sensitive to our feelings and honestly care about us. It is also natural to pull away from those who are sending the opposite message. It is important to be aware of the tone of voice you use as well as the softness or harshness of your attitude. Emotions do matter. Feelings are what make and break relationships. Relationships should feel good. Those who donít appreciate negative emotional criticism are not immature, they are normal. No healthy person appreciates it. Complaining will not change things, but compassionate action will.
Blaming has no value. It never repairs or fixes any thing; it just provides an excuse, never a solution. Itís easier to accept the responsibility, if it is yours, and if it is not, simply learn from it and move forward. Always remember, blaming, complaining and criticizing will never be listed among the qualities of a hero.
Area Gov. Toastmasters International
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