Friday, May 27, 2011

Reevaluating criticism

As I read "How To Win Friends and Influence People", I find myself guilty of many of the principles I should not be doing.  Here is one that spoke to me deeply. Don't Criticize, Condemn or Complain!

Throughout history many killers or "evil" people have been jailed and caught; from "Two Gun" Crowley to Al Capone.  What is mind-blowing is when these people were asked about their lives the majority would blame others, or even suggest they are men of great heart.

"Two Gun" Crowley, a man who killed many in cold blood, was caught after a 2 hour shootout with police and wrote "Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one - one that would do nobody any harm"

Reflecting back, when a person has criticized my own actions I would take offense and also feel as I am one “who would do nobody any harm”.  Even though I have heard it is a strength, most cannot and will not admit to their own inadequacies or mistakes.  Next time you are about to criticize someone I ask you to reflect on this passage:

Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine.  I am all in favour of it, but why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others – yes and a lot less dangerous.  “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean”.

It is very easy and simple to criticize the actions of other people, but I believe it takes a stronger person to reflect on their own actions, to forgive, and be truly understanding of the shortfalls of those around them.

Another example illustrating how sometimes we focus on criticism is “Father Forgets”, which tells the story of a father who, instead of letting his son be a child, focuses on improving his actions towards adulthood.

As I go forth, I have made an oath to myself that I will keep these quotes dear to my heart and attempt to criticize, condemn or complain no more.  Instead of be judicious of others we should be looking at the world through their eyes and trying to understand their actions. 

Lastly, I ask youto read the following poem by Nixon Waterman

If I knew you and you knew me--
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight divine
The meaning of your heart and mine--
I'm sure that we would differ less
And clasp our hands in friendliness;
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree
If I knew you and you knew me.
If I knew you and you knew me,
As each one knows his own self, we
Could look each other in the face
And see therein a truer grace.
Life has so many hidden woes,
So many thorns for every rose;
The "why" of things our hearts would see,
If I knew you and you knew me.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps we don't need to be notified whenever you update this.