Criticism is usually associated with negative behaviour and annoying the other person. After all, who likes to hear it? I suppose practically nobody. Relationships are very often based on the words of criticism, and by doing so in excess, a healthy relationship ceases to exist. Then it turns into a toxic relationship because criticism can be perceived as a continuous and long-lasting grudge against the other person. Of course, this is not always the case, as there is of course a positive side to criticism.
Maybe we should start with a short differentiation of different types of criticism:
– Constructive criticism
It is a way of giving criticism, without negative comments, in a way that indicates clear feedback of an action and indicates how someone can improve. Well used, it leads to internal motivation. It can be determined by finding specific factors that influence and are associated with bad behaviour. It is important to base it on rational arguments which prove an attempt to change the other person’s behaviour for his or her own good.
For example: “you smoke cigarettes, destroy your health and spend an incredible amount of money buying them. I think that what you do has a bad effect on you and makes you feel bad.”
– Non-constructive criticism
It can be compared with ordinary opinion, which is a subjective phenomenon. It shows that the criticised behaviour is not negative by definition, but it disturbs the co-worker. It can be categorised with selfishness because we think about our own satisfaction in a given situation, not paying attention to the other person and their thinking. This criticism is becoming more and more frequent and unjustified, and can be based on dissatisfaction with the relationship we find ourselves in.
For example: “This dress looks bad on you. You look thick and unattractive in it and these colours do not match your eyes.“
It doesn’t matter whether the criticism directed at us is constructive or not – we don’t like it. We treat the person we’re giving it to as our enemy. What if we change our attitude to them? If we start trying to get the best out of them and try to change those aspects? Criticism can become a source of motivation for us if only the right and worthy person presents it. Have you noticed this convergence? We are much more annoyed by the expressions of criticism than by a person who is not an example of authority for us.
Here, a person, who is himself a messenger, will be a perfect example:
You’re home. You’re cooking. Suddenly the doorbell rings so you run to open it. Your partner shows up and at the entrance says it’s a terrible mess. You ignore that statement and go back to preparing your meal. Your partner takes off his clothes and goes inside. He sits down and you start eating together. When you finish eating, the conversation begins:
– “You’ve made a terrible mess here, you should start cleaning up more because it’s not a nice environment.” he says.
– “And your apartment is tidied up?”
– “We’re not talking about me now, like you always drop the baton on me.”
– “Let’s talk about you first. Before you tell me something like that, you should first look at your apartment and clean it up because the last time we ate there it was in an even bigger mess than at my place.”
Here the criticism is inadequate because it focuses on hypocrisy, and hypocrisy is one of the hardest things to overcome. Before we start criticising anyone, it is worthwhile to look at your own behaviour and work on it. Only after this process, can we move on to commenting on the other person.
This is when the transition from non-constructive criticism to constructive criticism occurs.