When and How Should We Criticise Others?


Criticising others is a tricky business because people are rarely receptive to criticism. However, there are ways to point out mistakes to others which will make them more amenable to taking on board our suggestions. But, whilst it can be important to point out the mistakes of others, it is equally important that we avoid becoming a full time critic. If we spend all our energy on judging and criticising others we will just become a negative person and do nothing to effect real change.

Tips on Effective Criticism

1. Avoiding Unnecessary Criticism

We are apt to criticise unnecessarily. It is as if we are drawn to the faults of others and forget the good things they do. Criticism rarely helps a situation; when we criticise people they invariably feel miserable and when they are unhappy they are unlikely to lead better lives. If we can avoid criticising others we should. It is also important to avoid feeling responsible for the way others lead their lives; if you think a friend is too carefree with spending money, it is not necessary to keep criticising them for it. To a large extent, we have to give people the freedom to make their own choices in life. If we constantly criticise others it suggests that we want to direct their lives for them, something we should avoid doing.

Those who serve the world constantly
Do not have time
To criticise others,

While those who do not serve
Others selflessly
Have endless time
To criticise the whole world.

– Sri Chinmoy

2. Avoid Criticising inwardly

Quite often we spend a lot of time criticising others inwardly. We may not say it in words; but our thoughts are filled with criticisms of other people. When we think negatively about other people we do nothing to change that person; the only thing we achieve is to become negative ourselves. If we spend our mental energy in criticising other people we will not get any abiding feeling of satisfaction; we will certainly not become a better person ourselves. What happens when we criticise others is that the ego feels a sense of superiority. We criticise others to make ourselves feel better; but, this feeling of superiority only gives a pseudo happiness based on a sense of ‘being a better person’. True abiding happiness will come when we can feel a sense of oneness with others. When we identify with others we seek to focus on their good qualities and forget their mistakes.

  • Be careful about criticising inwardly – would you be happy for your thoughts to be made public? Try concentrating on holding thoughts you would not be embarrassed to share outwardly.

3. Offer Encouragement

A clever way to criticise is to offer encouragement for good things that people have done. If you offer sincere encouragement and praise then people will be much more receptive to hearing criticisms and suggestions for improvements. This is not about offering false flattery; it is about having a balance between praise and criticism. If you only criticise and point out people’s faults, this is unbalanced and people will lose their self confidence. Everyone is a mixture of good qualities and bad qualities; encouraging their good qualities is the best way to diminish their mistakes and bad qualities.

Continue reading “When and How Should We Criticise Others?”

7 Secrets of Self improvement


Self improvement is a continuous struggle to better ourselves; it the aspiration to transcend our weaknesses and limitations. There is no quick fix for our self development; it requires perseverance, patience and a constant aspiration to lead a better life. These are some of the factors that will expedite our progress.

1. Don’t Just Talk

It is easy to spend several hours reading and talking about making changes to our life. But, all the books in the world won’t help unless we can make real changes to our life. Books can give us inspiration, but, for every book we read it can take many years to actually understand and implement the changes in our lives. Similarly it is good to talk and articulate what we should do, but the real test is whether we can practise what we preach.

2. Discipline / regularity

Self improvement is not something that can do once a week when we feel like it. Self improvement requires a certain discipline and regularity. For many discipline brings to mind negative connotations of doing something we don’t really want to. However, the discipline here is really the motivation to continue doing the right thing. If something is good to do, there is no need to just do it occasionally. After a while our discipline to create good habits, no longer feels like discipline; we want to do it simply because this is what we enjoy doing. Our bad habits no longer seem attractive.

3. Think of others

Self improvement doesn’t mean we focus excessively on ourselves. It is a paradox of self improvement that real progress comes when we give less importance to our ego and give more consideration to others. When we think of others a little more and ourselves a little less, we will definitely make progress in becoming a better person.

Continue reading “7 Secrets of Self improvement”

How The Power of Selflessness can Transform our lives.


“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.”

– Khalil Gibran

Is it possible for man to be completely selfless? A cynic may say not. But, selfless actions and thoughts are not only possible, but give a real sense of satisfaction and abiding happiness.

What do we mean by real selflessness? Selflessness means we act without thought for how we will profit or be rewarded. If we give help to others, but expect recognition or the favour to be returned, this is not a selfless action. True selflessness means we would do the action, even if it was never know to anyone else. Selflessness means we identify with others. Our service to others is not an act of condescending charity in helping others, our action is motivated by a feeling of oneness. We help others because we identify with their problems and their suffering. Selflessness is its own reward.

Benefits of selflessness

Conquers Pride.

In a true selfless action we are not acting to feed our ego and receive the flattery of the world; we are not acting out of competition or desire to prove ourself to others. Selflessness means we act out of a motivation to do the right thing and help others. By definition, selflessness cannot involve inflating our ego, it does exactly the opposite.

Continue reading “How The Power of Selflessness can Transform our lives.”

Could You do This?

white flower

Sometimes it is good to look at life from a different perspective and offer ourselves challenges. Challenges don’t have to be physical challenges of running a marathon or climbing a mountain. These questions test our inner attitude to life; it tests how much we hang onto our ego and how much we can be liberated from the confines of the mind. They are not necessarily easy to do, but, it is an interesting experience and offers a different perspective on life.

Could you get Joy from Your Enemies Achievement?

Think of a person that you dislike or someone who just irritates you. Suppose that they did something really great for the world, how would you feel? Would you be happy and proud they had at last done something good?  Or would you be unable to offer appreciation, feeling a mixture of jealousy and pride that you are still better than them. If we can appreciate people who have irritated us, it means we have a magnanimous heart. It means we can detach from insignificant problems and worries. Too often we allow certain things to permanently cloud our judgement and opinion of others.

Feel Grateful for Criticism

We like praise, we dislike criticism. This is an instinctive view of life. However, it is often very difficult to receive criticism in the right way. The problem is that when criticised we feel personally offended, even though the criticism is for maybe a small action. Maybe the criticism is unjustified, but, also maybe it spot on. Even if criticism is offered with unkind words, it can still contain very good advice which can help us improve. If we just took criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow, we could look upon criticism as beneficial as praise. In fact criticism maybe more useful than praise; we learn little from praise, but it does boost the ego. Continue reading “Could You do This?”

Tips to Deal With Lack of Self Confidence


This is in response to a readers question about how to deal with lack of confidence.

List Some Positive Qualities

Here, you have to be honest with yourself. Yes, you will have some weaknesses, but, also you have some strengths and good qualities. If you lack self confidence maybe you are sensitive person, who is keenly aware of other people’s feelings. Turn this sensitivity into a strength; feel that your empathy with other people makes you a better person. Try to list several good qualities and / or several positive contributions that you have made and avoid feelings of false modesty.

Spend Time With Positive People.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we lack self confidence we can gravitate towards people who instinctively like to put others down. (This behaviour is rooted in their own insecurities – they knock other people to make themselves feel better). However, spending time with negative people is inevitably very bad for our self confidence. It is a real shame when this happens repeatedly for some people. Look closely at the people you spend your time with, if they are always criticising you (either directly or indirectly) try spend more time with people who don’t.

Be Yourself – Don’t Imitate

You can only gain self-confidence when you are trying to be yourself. In some social situations we feel awkward so the temptation is to do what you think other people expect; we try to be somebody we are not. But, when we are trying to be someone that we are not, inevitably we lack self-confidence because the element of falseness in being something we are not.

Continue reading “Tips to Deal With Lack of Self Confidence”

Creating New Year Resolutions that Work

translucence unmesh

The New Year is an excellent opportunity to take a fresh look at life. It is a time when we can resolve to make real changes to our life. However, sometimes it is easier to create resolutions, rather than actually make the lasting change. As we create new year resolutions, we also need to work out how we can make it part of our life long change.

What Good Habits Do you Need?

The key to New Year resolutions is to choose ones that you really need. Take an honest look at your life and decide where it could easily be improved. Often it is small issues and minor irritations that can spoil our day. For example, do you easily get angry for the smallest provocation? If that is the case make a resolution to control your anger. Often we don’t think of simple things like this, but, if we can resolve to improve in areas like this it will make a big difference to our quality of life.

What do You Wish to Achieve in 2008?

If you know what you wish to achieve, then work out the kind of resolutions that you will need. Be bold and willing to follow your heart’s aspirations, don’t just think of small changes – think how you can make a real difference to your life. Be prepared to make resolutions to aim for a completely new goal and change of life.

Give Them Importance

The success of new habits will depend upon how much importance that we give to them. What we value is given our energy and attention; if we constantly remind ourselves of our new targets and goals we will become more motivated to fulfil them. But, if we are not careful, habits can slip from our attention and therefore, we fail to make the change permanent. In this regard, it may be better to have a small number of resolutions that you are really going to work on, rather than a long list of speculative resolutions.

Continue reading “Creating New Year Resolutions that Work”

How To Boost Your Self Esteem


If you struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, these are some suggestions to gain self confidence and increased self-esteem.

Remember the Good, forget the Bad

If we are honest with ourselves we will notice that all humans are a mixture of bad qualities and good qualities. However, perhaps out of a sense of false modesty, we are more prone to remember our mistakes and weaknesses. It is this that makes us feel guilty and worthless. But, in this situation, we are doing ourself a disservice; true we have made some mistakes, but, we have also done many good things. We should make a conscious effort to remember our good qualities and selfless actions to others. If we have made mistakes, learn from them, but, don’t allow them to drag you down with feelings of guilt. – Let go and move on.

Detach from Criticism

You can’t avoid getting criticised, but, it is upto you whether you let it disturb your peace of mind. It is no one other than yourself who can rob you of inner peace. If you receive criticism, don’t let it disturb your peace of mind. Feel it is criticising only an aspect of your character – an aspect you can easily improve. If the criticism is unjust, pay no attention to it. Just leave it with the other person.

Stop Procrastinating

Often feelings of inadequacy occur during periods of great procrastination. Rather than doing anything positive, we just think of all the things we haven’t done. Here it is easy to get into a negative frame of mind, thinking of all the things we should be doing, but haven’t. The cure for this is quite simple. – Stop procrastinating and start to achieve certain targets. As soon as we are actively working towards something we will have much greater self confidence.

Continue reading “How To Boost Your Self Esteem”

Benefits of Reducing the Ego

yellow mountain

The ego is the part of us that identifies with our body and the personality of ourself. The ego is the little ‘I’ which thinks thoughts such as: “I am good.” “I am bad,” “I’m much better than that person,” “I am inferior to everyone else”.

Previously, I looked at how to reduce the influence of the ego. In this article I thought I would look at reasons why it is a good idea to reduce the ego.

Ego is Caught in the duality of good and bad

For every good thought, there is an equal and opposite idea. For example, when we have a tremendous sense of pride, we feel an equal measure of humiliation when our pride is punctured. When the ego criticises other people, the ego feels an equal measure of guilt when the roles are reversed. To avoid feelings of inadequacy, we should not seek to just avoid doing the wrong thing, we should also seek to reduce our ego; it is this that will enable us to detach from feelings of pride and humiliation.

Ego knows no Peace

When we live in the ego, we always will find inner peace an elusive goal. The reason is that the ego constantly worries and doubts. When we are subject to these thoughts a lasting peace cannot take hold. To attain peace of mind, we need to let go of the ego and live in the here and now. See also Seven steps to inner peace

Continue reading “Benefits of Reducing the Ego”

How to Transcend Our Own Limitations

autumn colour

Self Transcendence is synonymous with our own self improvement. If we always stay in our ‘comfort zone’ we make no progress. It is important to know how we can achieve more. Here, achieve is perhaps not the right word – Self-transcendence is not just about achieving more, it is also about overcoming our negative limited thoughts and beliefs

These are some suggestions to help you transcend your own limitations

Set Targets

If you want to transcend yourself, you need to have something to aim for. Set realistic goals and targets. This maybe getting rid of a bad habit; it may be getting up 30 minutes earlier; it may be to improve your physical health. If you have something to aim for it remains a powerful motivation. As you achieve a small improvement, you can continue to raise the target. If it is not so easy to achieve your goals – don’t give up. Self transcendence requires patience, and perseverance.

Don’t Be Limited by Your Own Thoughts

The first thing we need to be aware of, is how easily we can be affected by our own self imposed limitations. Quite often, we may be unaware of how much we allow our thoughts to limit our perspective and capacities. These thoughts and ideas are often deeply embedded in our mind. However, whilst we cherish these thoughts, they will always act as an invisible barrier. Examine carefully, your own thoughts. If you find yourself often saying “I can’t do that..” try to at least suspend disbelief.

Continue reading “How to Transcend Our Own Limitations”

How to Reduce the Ego.


The ego is that part in us which feeds off praise, compliments and success. When we live in the ego we are inevitably subject to feelings of superiority / inferiority, pride and worthlessness, success and failure. If we want to avoid these negative emotions we need to transcend the ego. If we can transcend the ego, we will find that people are instinctively more attracted to us, even though we are no longer trying to impress. It may seem a great paradox, yet, limiting the role of our ego can make a radical difference to our lives.

These are some factors which can reduce the power of the Ego.

1. Don’t Try to impress

Don’t speak about your own achievements. Don’t drop names of great people you have met. Avoid forcing your accomplishments and success into the conversation. If you have been successful in accumulating wealth, try to keep quiet about it. All these factors may impress your own ego, but, you can guarantee they will have little impact on other people.

2. Be aware of False Modesty.

Sometimes when we say. “O I’m absolutely hopeless”. Actually what we are wanting is for people to respond. ‘O no your not, your really good.” Humility means that we don’t take excessive pride in our achievements, but, it also means we don’t exaggerate our failings in the hope of gaining sympathy.

3. Be Careful of Flattery.

We need to be careful about receiving praise, in some ways it can be as difficult as receiving criticism. The problem is that the ego likes receiving praise and so we can easily become addicted to being flattered. Don’t seek out people who are keen to flatter us, as this is only feeding the ego. Also, be wary of flattering other people in the hope that they will return the compliment.

4. Don’t use your Religion / Spirituality to Impress.

It is a mistake to feel that the practise of a religion / spiritual path gives us a moral superiority over other people. If we feel any superiority we are missing the whole point of spirituality. Spirituality is about a feeling of oneness not of proving that one path is better than others. This can be one of the most insidious types of ego. This is because when we wrap up the ego in a sense of moral superiority, we can easily trick ourselves into thinking we are reducing the ego, when actually we are strengthening it.
Continue reading “How to Reduce the Ego.”