I’ve recently started reading a self-improvement book that emphasizes why you should stop criticizing others. The book is called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. Although the book itself doesn’t open your eyes to anything out of the ordinary, it makes you aware of the obvious. The ideas and principles discussed by Carnegie are nothing that would require a genius to elaborate on, but for some reason the way the book is laid out and the way the author speaks to you really moves your thinking and communication skills. Although only one chapter in the book is dedicated to why you should stop criticizing others, I would like to focus on it in more detail.
1. It Only Incites Defense Mechanisms
You have probably already realized that nothing good comes out of expressing negative comments, which is why you should stop criticizing others altogether. Let's go back in time to when you last criticized someone else to his or her face. Did they give in and admit their faults? The answer is most likely no, because he or she probably began spitting out defensive comments, trying to prove themselves innocent even if they were wrong. It’s like a never-ending battle of offensive comments!
2. Leads to Misunderstanding
Criticizing others leads to miscommunication, if both parties tend to be stubborn. As you try to condemn the other person, you falsely express what you think of them. They could perceive your comments as hurtful and believe that you are trying to change them, and trust me, nobody finds comfort in that. Good relationships are built on respect, which means that no two sides try to manipulate the other or change each other.
3. Increased Hatred
As you have probably already figured, increased misunderstanding and defense mechanisms are key ingredients for resentment and even hatred. Just think for a moment, if someone constantly points out your wrongdoings and condemns your actions, it is more than likely that they would disregard everything that you are saying from that point on. So if you are boss of a company or a supervisor, putting your co-workers down would only decrease their productivity in order to show their dissatisfaction with your behavior.
4. Criticism Replaces Positivity
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that Carnegie provides for us to prove that criticism should be kept to a minimum is a letter of W. Livingston Larned to his son. His letter really makes all ideas presented click together and presents a wholesome explanation. In the heart wrenching letter the father explains how he unfairly scolded his son throughout the day for putting his elbows on the table, wearing socks with holes, slouching his shoulders, not cleaning his shoes and coming into his office with a gloomy face, but the constant criticism didn’t prevent his son from running to his father before bed, hugging and kissing him. This act of love astonished Livingston Larned and made him snap out of the habit of reprimanding his son. He realized that instead of telling his son how much he loves and cares for him, he wasted the day ignoring and putting him down.
5. Pushes People Away
Family members are the only people who would stay by your side after constant abuse of words, but you might not be so lucky with other friends and acquaintances. Nobody wants to deal with someone who lowers their self-esteem and importance; nobody wants to feel less than they already are. So think about how your comments will affect others around you before unfairly scolding them for being themselves.
6. Decreases Your Chances of Success
Communication with people plays a huge role in success. How will you become a successful businesswoman or renowned lawyer, if nobody wants to work with you? Success requires certain communication skills that can draw others towards you and keep them by your side. Without loyal partners, friends and family, there is no possible way to become successful at what you do.
7. Leaves You Lonely
This point pretty much sums up all of the other previous points. Unless you want to appear cold-hearted to others, you have to restrain yourself from criticizing and condemning them. Otherwise people will start distancing themselves from you and begin to limit any interaction with you. You never want to give a negative aura out. Instead, attract others with your kindness and understanding.
In the end of it all, we all catch ourselves scolding others for no apparent reason. However, next time you are about to slip, think of the consequences and damage that you can cause to your relationships with others. On the other hand, how do you cope with constant criticism towards you and how do you deal with that person?