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Stopping destructive habits of criticism and blame

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It seems to be a human tendency to be critical and judgemental especially during times of stress and difficulty. It has been recognised that this behaviour is much more wide spread in the Western world and this is attributed to there being a constant and long standing message of not being good enough from religions and the media.

Be conscious

It is possible to make changes to habits like these but it does take time and commitment to do so. The first step to making change is always to become conscious of the thing that you want to change. This can be quite uncomfortable and many people do at some level decide to stay unconscious about their more ‘negative’ habits.

Judge, blame, criticise

Recognising that you are someone who can judge, blame and criticise also tells you a few other things about you that may not have been apparent beforehand. Judging, blaming and criticising are all expressions of low self-esteem and sometimes feelings of shame about yourself. They come across as forms of attack on others (or yourself) but are actually ways of defending deeper feelings underneath. It is possible to look at this very rationally and ask ‘if a person felt completely at peace in themselves, would they have any incentive to hurt another?’ This approach is a good way to turn things on their head and recognise that the behaviour says more about the person doing it than who it is aimed at.

A compassionate attitude

judgemental and criticalOnce you’re aware of the insecurity behind you behaviour, it’s important to develop a compassionate attitude to the part of you that feels unworthy or insecure. Even though you may totally identify with this part of you, it’s very important to recognise that it isn’t the whole of you; this behaviour of judging is actually a very vulnerable and hurting side of you that deserves and needs your acceptance and support. It is very common for people to keep their vulnerability hidden and it can be quite an inner journey to reclaim those feelings in yourself.

Techniques to help

It’s helpful to explore why we judge and criticise. We tend to project aspects of ourselves that we find hard to bear, onto others, so write down your judgements then asking yourself the question ‘what does this mirror in me’? This is particularly true for those thoughts that come through our mind repeatedly about others. When there is a charge like this, it’s usually because there is something that is very painful for us to own and we want to give it to someone else.

Another technique is to practising developing awareness as soon as judgmental thoughts start to appear in your mind. Simply noticing them and saying to yourself ‘oh I’m doing that judging thing again’ is a very helpful way to undermine their power.
Judgements, blame and criticism can accrue a lot of power and because of this can feel ‘true’. This makes it doubly hard to let them go sometimes, almost as if you are betraying yourself or giving up something very important. At moments like these, it is helpful to say to yourself ‘right now, would I rather be right or happy?’ The decision is yours!!

 

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About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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