Today I’m going to tell you something you’ve heard before. But THIS time, I promise it will be different.
There are two lousy habits that most people have – and these two habits take up quite a bit of their schedules these days. No, I’m not talking about smoking, drinking, or swearing.
I’m talking about …
1. Criticizing others 2. Criticizing yourself
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As I said, nothing new in the above. In fact, both of these are talked about by Dr. Maltz in Zero Resistance Living. Dr. Maltz talks about them in a different light, though. He tells you that you must relax physically and mentally in order to create the life that you want. Then he tells you that there are four negative habit patterns that derail you from being able to relax. The two other negative habit patterns are trying to keep up with the Joneses and not forgiving yourself or others.
For now, let’s focus on that enormous waste of time and energy … criticism of self and others.
Perhaps no one ever explained to you why these two habits turn you into an ineffective human being.
One of the reasons is because criticism increases emotional tension and stress in your mind/body.
Whenever you criticize yourself or others, a frown comes to your face, and you unconsciously begin to tense and tighten your muscles. Internally, your organs respond to the attack, too. Even when you think your attack is singular in focus – directed only toward a person you dislike, for example – your body responds as if you’re attacking yourself as well.
Another reason is that criticism derails you from furthering your growth as a human being.
Some people make a living by attacking others. Most people, however, do not. There’s a difference between being paid to dig up dirt on others and being the type of person who does it for FREE – and does so at the expense of his own emotional health and well-being.
Sometimes, in my e-mails and newsletters, I must give the scoop on others. That’s part of my job. But I don’t spend the rest of the day attacking others – or myself. I do my best to look for the good in others and what I can learn from them.
For example, I’m not fan of high-profile actors with political agendas. I used to frequently criticize and attack most of them. Not professionally. Not as part of my job. But as a major part of my day. During my personal time.
Then one day I began to think differently. I said to myself, “Why don’t you stop criticizing these people and look for what you can learn from them?” At that point, I started to take note of their good points – and I found many. Looking at their good points opened a door for me. It allowed me to grow by recognizing what they do extraordinarily well.
There are many people who spend much of their time criticizing people like Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, and Madonna, among others. I myself am the subject of much criticism on the Internet – and some years ago, I made the mistake of fighting back, going on discussion boards and squabbling with those who attacked me. That did nothing but create even more squabbling.
A turning point for me was the day a friend said, “Don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk.” The metaphor struck home … and I stopped going into forums to defend myself. It’s not necessary.
Now, here’s the kicker: Those who have been doing the criticizing on these forums have NOT improved their lives in the least. Yet, last time I checked, those named above, myself included, have continued to grow more successful.
There’s a major lesson to be learned from this.
Criticizing others may be entertaining – but if you stop to analyze what you’re doing, I think you’ll agree that it is a major waste of your time. It keeps you stuck. It takes your mind off what you should be doing with your life.
Get creatively alive. Get involved in doing something good. Eliminate as much criticism from your life as you can
Do your best to avoid personal attacks on yourself and others. Start observing yourself a little more closely. Take note of when you get sucked into discussions about others that are nothing more than personal attacks. And when you find yourself in such a situation, say to yourself, “Wait a minute. I’m wasting my time. Instead of attacking this person, I should be making MY life better.”
If you think this way, I’m betting that you’ll start coming up with ways to spend your time that will help propel you forward.
“Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather than its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as a bad heart of Procreates turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture.”- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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