Helpful Tips To Deal With Critical People
Why It's Not Ok To Be Critical
While it can be completely normal to criticize others once in a while, when we 'cross the line' and become constantly critical or resort to harshness, it becomes destructive.
I have a sister that means the world to me. But her critical and negative attitude keep our relationship from being all that it could be. It seems like the more positive I am, the more negative and critical she becomes. She doesn't even realize she's like this.
I think most of us have met people who are overly critical and wonder why they have this attitude. Such people rarely, if ever, encourage or compliment others. It just isn't within their nature. It's sad because critical people have a hard time maintaining friendships.
Billy Graham said that this type of attitude( being critical) is wrong because it is based on pride.
In other words, this is an attitude of " I think I'm better than you are. " And you can fill in the blanks with words like smarter, richer, prettier, more handsome, wiser, more successful and on and on. Nothing very humble about this kind of self-serving thinking.
When we are critical, instead of concentrating on our own faults we're preoccupied with the shortcomings of others. In fact most people who tear down other people rarely even admit to themselves that they may be wrong or make a mistake.
When you run into a person who is overly critical of others, just keep in mind that they are unhappy with themselves. And that unhappiness spreads it's projected state onto others. And try as you may, you cannot change their agenda.
Being critical is rude, negative, selfish, destructive, manipulating, discouraging and rarely justified.
Why People Are Critical In The First Place
Understanding why someone is being critical and intolerant is the first step and #1 tip to dealing with critical people. The ability to understand acts as a "buffer" between your immediate urge to react emotionally and to stop and think before you speak.
Another reason some people are so critical is they lack self-confidence and have low self-esteem. This may be hard to believe because they come across as a know-it-all but it's true. They overcompensate and become quite critical. If they can find something to find fault with in someone else, they feel better about themselves.
Critical people are usually angry people. They won't admit it either. Most people who are narcissistic have low levels of self esteem and need to cleverly be critical of others.
You'll also find that there is a great deal of 'jealousy of others' in a critical person. So keep this in mind. This type of person lives in a state of general unhappiness. They are longing for love but may not know it.
Are you beginning to see how you can deal with critical people knowing all this? I hope so because it's not really about us - it's about them.
A quote that comes to mind is "To the pure, all things are pure."
Help For Dealing With Critical and Controlling People
10 Helpful Tips For Dealing With Critical People
- Don't take the criticism personally. Remember it's not about you at all. It's about the one who is being critical.
- Control your temper and try not to get angry. Anger only fuels the fire and gives the other person more power. Once they learn how to "push your buttons" - they will do it again and again. You must stay in control at all times.
- Don't react and do not take part in an argument. It won't do any good at all. It's a game and you can make a choice not to play the game.
- To keep a person from getting under your skin, simply smile. Continue on with the conversation if you wish, but remain indifferent and don't get all flustered.This will help to put you in control and the person doing the criticizing will soon get the message and stop.
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- Don't be in a hurry to respond to criticism. By replying fast you give more power to that person. Sometimes it's even better not to reply at all. This leaves the other person wondering about what they've said and they even wonder if their comment was totally worthless.
- Don't try to defend yourself or your point of view when you do reply. By putting yourself in a defensive position you're stuck there and it's almost impossible to escape.
And this is a tough one, but you will grow in character as you practice doing this:
- Be kind to critical people. This may be the most challenging of all. Remind yourself often that they really do need to feel loved. Even if they reject it again and again.
Most of us are mirrors of how we feel about ourselves. We can't hide from our true belief system.
Which of These Quotes Do You Agree With?
- He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help. - Abraham Lincoln
- Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do. - Benjamin Franklin
- Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others. - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
- I criticize by creation - not by finding fault. - Marcus Tullius Cicero
- You have to understand that people that are hurting are going to criticize. - George H. W. Bush
- Anyone can negatively criticize - it is the cheapest of all comment because it requires not a modicum of the effort that suggestion requires. - Chuck Jones
- And if you must criticize, think about this good quote by Mary Kay Ash .
"Criticize the act, not the person."
For A Happier Life Consider These 9 Actions
- Before you speak, listen.
- Before you write, think.
- Before you spend, earn.
- Before you invest, investigate.
- Before you criticize, wait.
- Before you pray, forgive.
- Before you quit, try.
- Before you retire, save.
- Before you die, give.
William Arthur Ward quotes (American dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher)
In Conclusion ~
My Daddy always taught me not to gossip and to be kind when speaking to others. He'd say " Audrey June, if you can't say something nice to other people, then don't say anything at all. " I've always tried to live up to this teaching. I know there have been times when in the heat of the moment I've failed to do so.
The tone of the voice is another thing to watch when we correct someone. We may not set out to sound critical but the way we speak can come across as arrogant and critical.
As a teacher of The Performing Arts, I'm careful of the way I instruct others. I have my own set of principles about correcting students. I have avoided being harsh and critical at all cost.
I prefer to "guide" the student to analyzing the problem or mistake and correcting it immediately, thereby praising the singer, actor or pianist for their action. The reward becomes theirs - they own it and have succeeded. This builds a higher level of self-esteem.
One of the most difficult roles to be placed in and not use harshness and criticism is that of a director of a play or musical. I've worked in musicals all my life and have learned to appreciate how hard directors work.
I witnessed my own daughter, rusticliving, a respected director of musical theatre directing her cast in a rehearsal for her up-and-coming production of the musical "Clue." In each scene there were of course mistakes made of one kind or the other.
But never once did she embarrass any member of the cast by being critical. Yet she was able to make corrections which resulted in excellent results. How did she manage to accomplish this? Totally through humor. A wonderful, quick sense of humor is a gift and a great, soft way to replace harsh criticism. She is the supreme example of how to instill, teach and inspire and remain professional.
Change equals personal growth. Learning how to put this information into practice requires having an open mind as well as using these tips for self-training. Words are powerful and can inspire or destroy. Begin now to honor yourself first and then you'll know how to honor your fellowmen.
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© 2013 Audrey Hunt
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