Programmed for Criticism
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Last week our nation’s heart broke over a school shooting in Florida. What's everyone talking about this week? Fergie’s "terrible" rendition of the National Anthem.
I’ve seen many discussions surrounding the shooting and what we can do to ensure it never happens again. Heartbreak soon turned to anger and the criticism began. Teachers should be armed, the President needs to do something, the FBI needs to do better, parents need to do better, and so on. It’s the President’s fault. It’s the NRA’s fault. It's somebody's fault. It's the lack of mental health services fault.
Soon these debates dissipated as people quickly moved on to Fergie’s performance of the National Anthem. I saw comments saying it was embarrassing, it was disrespectful, anyone else could have done better. So let’s get this straight, last week we were shocked how something so tragic could happen in our country. This week we’re slamming a successful artist for her interpretation of the National Anthem. And that’s cool with us?
We have been programmed for criticism.
We constantly look for faults in people. We worry that someone might be more successful than us. We judge each other regularly. We make fun of people who disagree with us. We mock people who don’t think or look like us. We make sure to point out other people’s weaknesses every chance we get.
A Staple of Society
Let’s look at Twitter. Twitter is the ultimate platform for criticism and insult. We read tweets making fun of others, and we laugh. It’s like a sport to see who can be the most witty and hurtful at the same time. Jimmy Kimmel even has a segment called “Mean Tweets” where celebrities read what people say about them. And we laugh about it.
We even have apps to allow us to criticize, like swipe left. We have forums to rant. It’s not just social media though. What about performance reviews at work? You begin with your supervisor saying the good things you do, and then they tell you all the ways you can be better. Or how about Individualized Education Plans in school? Same thing there.
Now, I am a business person and absolutely understand the usefulness of SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses. But when you participate in a SWOT analysis, it’s about the business and processes, not an individual. When completed, the individuals come together to make improvements.
Isn't There Good Criticism?
You might be thinking to yourself that constructive criticism is helpful. And I would probably agree with you. But constructive criticism is most helpful if the person or business on the receiving end has asked for your guidance and input. Like when a business requests reviews of their products and services because they want to give you the best experience possible. Or when a friend seeks your advice.
We all have weaknesses, and we all have strengths, yet it seems we’ve made a game out of pointing out where we think others have fallen short. I think about the individual responsible for the Florida shooting. I wonder if he grew up in an environment to help him flourish, or did he grow up being constantly reminded of his shortcomings? I even think about Fergie who probably felt proud of her performance only to be slammed all over social media. Does her stardom make her resilient to this kind of criticism?
All of us are constantly subjected to criticism. Criticism negatively impacts the way we see ourselves and the things we believe about ourselves, whether we are giving it or receiving it,. These beliefs can hinder us from realizing our potential and ambitions and experiencing good health and loving relationships.
What Science Says I see a lot of people upset when people send love and prayers; it’s not good enough. Did you know we can actually measure the frequency of our thoughts? Loving thoughts are 528Hz. Unloving thoughts like anger and jealousy are at a frequency of 150Hz or lower. What if we all sent love and prayers and good thoughts? What if every time we came across someone we consciously sent loving energy their way or wished them joy?
I am guilty of criticism. We all are. Everything around us tells us to be this way. Sometimes we forget we are all just doing our best with what we know at this moment. All of us.
When we focus on the negative we bring out the negative in us all, plain and simple. If we keep giving our energy towards criticism, criticism will continue to thrive. We will keep reminding ourselves of how no one is good enough. But we can break this destructive programming.
What We Can Do We can start looking for the good in others and in ourselves. We can stop laughing and sharing when someone posts hurtful criticism of others. We can start smiling and sharing when someone is doing something positive. We can focus on ourselves and the things we would like to do better. Just as Mahatma Gandhi wisely shared, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” It truly does begin with us.
Be love. Be light. Just Be.
About the Author: Serena James is a holistic healer and the author of Vibe Higher. She offers a variety of energy healing services and workshops to help individuals experience a life of love, abundance, and wellness as they were meant to.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease or illness. Any action you take as a result of this information is self-prescribed and your right to do so.