Not Criticising Others – A Challenge

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It is said that to read a book takes one hour. To understand a book takes one week, But, to actually live the book can take several lifetimes.

I frequently, read about the desirability of avoiding criticising others.

To deliberately criticise
Another individual
May cause an indelible stain
On the critic.

– Sri Chinmoy

The fault is in the blamer
Spirit sees nothing to criticize

– Rumi

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting”

– Emmet Fox

This is something in this that really resonates. And yet, it can be difficult to put into practise. As Sri Chinmoy says:

To resist the urge
To criticise others
Is, indeed, a most difficult task.

– Sri Chinmoy

Why it is good to avoid criticising others.

  • When we criticise others, we often have the same fault in our own nature.
  • Criticising others very rarely inspires them to change.
  • Gossiping about others brings out the worst in ourself. It gives us a negative frame of mind
  • Criticising others, gives us a sense of pride and superiority.
  • We really value people who aren’t negative, but willing to look over our mistakes and see the good.

Theory is Fine, but, Is it Practical?

Theoretically, it is great, but, what about living the ideal?

I am going to try very hard to avoid criticising other people for a week. Not only will I not criticise people outwardly, but, I won’t allow myself to criticise people inwardly.

I am intrigued to know:

  • Is it possible to remain free of criticism both outwardly and inwardly
  • What happens when we don’t criticise others – Will we be happier?
  • What will others think of us, if we refuse to criticise / gossip about others?
  • Can it be done in all situations like work and home environment.

I will let you know how I get on after a week or two. You are welcome to try too.

BTW: Common Sense is always a good thing. For example, If my students don’t do their homework, it won’t change my attitude of giving them a hard time.

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photo by Pranlobha, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries

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13 thoughts on “Not Criticising Others – A Challenge”

  1. I started on this quest on July 16 for 30 days after listening to Covey’s Seven Habits. I was amazed at how much I had to stop myself at first. I had no idea I criticized and talked behind people’s backs so much. Obviously the 30 days is over and I continue to not criticize.

    I am soooooo much happier now! The person who gains the most by not speaking negatively is oneself.

  2. In This Mystery Called Life I wrote:

    I know a lot of people who want to be right and/or to feel superior to other people. That doesn’t make sense to me. I agree with Hobbes, the tiger in Bill Watterson’s cartoons. He and Calvin were outside looking at the night sky, and they were both awed by the majesty of it. Walking back into the house Hobbes said to Calvin, “It makes you wonder why humans think they’re such big, screaming deals.” Amen to that.

    For me criticising other people narrows my mind too much. When I do it I’m cheating myself.

  3. Barb, I hadn’t heard of Covey’s 7 habits. But, thanks for sharing your experience!

    Jean, I think that’s a great quote to share. I love how Calvin and Hobbes simple philosophy can be often so spot on!

  4. This is a habit I am guilty of more often than I would care to admit. So with that in mind I will join you in this endeavour.

  5. I found that the less I criticized myself, the less I criticized others. The real challenge is this:

    – While doing this exercise, to avoid criticizing ourselves when we notice ourselves criticizing others!

    It’s so easy to get caught into that trap… but if we learn to have compassion for ourselves… if we learn to be curious about our criticism by asking questions like, “That’s an interesting thought. I wonder why I criticized that person?” then we have an opportunity for every powerful transformation.

    “So within… so without…”

    Long story short: If we can have compassion for ourselves during this challenging exercise, it’ll be a lot easier!

  6. I have been working on this a lot in the last few years (admittingly, on and off) after reading Deepak Chopra’s ‘the seven spirtual laws of success’. I agree with Rob, it’s a habit. At first i was shocked to notice how much i criticised people and situations. It’s a tough habit to change, but with time, i’ve made some good progress (but still have a long way to go!).

    I think it’s also very important to not criticise yourself!

  7. I believe there is a huge difference between not critisizing others and being politically correct. Alone, the latter can be dangerous because it has the potential to mask resentment, anger and other negative emotions.

  8. people with patience and faith never criticises others.

    only those having ego problem,and they feel great and
    very much correct when they criticise others.

  9. It’s really a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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