Healthy Relationships: Critical vs. Encouraging (Part 1 of 4)

Greetings and welcome to my post. In the next for posts, I want to focus on this question: do you want to criticize people or do you want to encourage people? As you know, my goal here in 2015 is to write about building healthy relationships and my hope in doing this, you will examine your relationships by exploring the intention of the people in the relationship. Healthy relationships have good intentions, unhealthy relationships of unhealthy intentions.

So how would you define criticism? How does it feel to experience someone criticizing you? Do you like it or does it hurt you? When you were a child, can you remember the time when a parent criticized you and how did that make you feel? As an adult today, how does it feel when your spouse and the people personally closest to you criticizes you?

As you know, we live in a world that is full of opinions and full of criticism. If you watch television, either on regular or cable television, there are probably close to 20 different shows in which you are in a completion and someone is judging the completion who qualifies as a critic. To be a critic usually means someone who has some level of expertise and they qualify to judge a certain contest or completion.

So if you are watching a music completion, such as American Idol or The Voice, or any other music or singing shows, you will find judges who how have a claim of fame of being a critic of the contestants or individual who audition to be on the show. Each contestant is subjecting themselves to some person who plays the role of a critic.

Today there are shows about food, music, clothing, make-up, fixing up a house, movies, television, animals, fashion, sports, you name it, and there are critics. For years, one of the early pop culture critics were the movie critics Siskel and Ebert who weekly would have a 30 minute show and give their critical view of new movies. They would give either a thumbs up or down regarding whether the viewing audience should go and spend their money on a particular movie. I don’t know how these two men became movie critics but they did so and each week, millions would watch their show to catch a view or rating on an upcoming movie. The show became very famous.

In general, if you are going to be a critic, you are claiming to be a professional with some level of talent, expertise or educational knowledge qualified to sit in the judge’s seat in order to be an expert as a critic. To be labeled or declared a critic assumes you have earned that title or position given your level of expertise around a particular subject. Obviously, in a singing contest, I do want Jenifer Lopez judging the musicians and not me. I certainly am not expert when it comes to music.

But when we apply this title of being a critic to personal relationships, that is when unhealthy patterns will began. To criticize someone all the time and try to point out where they went wrong can be very mean and hurtful. Sure, we can all laugh at the time when we were watching the weekly television show “All in the Family” that ran successfully for many years on television as we all laughed at the critic Archie Bunker criticize his wife, daughter, son in law and others. People laughed at how he would make fun of, or yell and scream at his family, or judged others behind their back and make derogatory comments about them attempting to put them down and make him look good. Archie used criticism as a form of mean and hurt to have lots of arguments and fights with his family especially his son in law who he called meathead and Edith his wife who he called a dingbat.

On television, it may be funny. But in a real personal relationship, like your spouse or your child, to be critical and mean, really does hurt. To be a critic in a dog show is one thing; to be a critic of your spouse’s cooking, that is another thing. In personal relationships, no one wants to be criticized by the other person, let alone be verbally abused with mean hurtful words coming from the person you thought loved you and cared about you. Critical people hurt people. Thanks for reading.