Human beings are by nature negatively focused and problem focused. Positive interaction and affirmation is a learned skill—it’s something we have to do proactively and intentionally, or we will revert back to our critical patterns.
Ask yourself 3 questions before criticizing someone:
- Do I love to criticize or do I hate to criticize? If you love it, I think you need to give yourself pause there.
- Am I doing it to help? Is that my motive?
- Will I do it kindly and will I do it to that person’s face?
The replacement for criticism is very simple: Affirmation.
Learn to affirm people. This does not come naturally to us. If you’re a “criti-holic,” go on a criticism fast for 2-3 weeks. Afterward, when you criticize, do it “affirmation sandwich style.” Affirm that person, then issue your
criticism, then follow with another affirmation.
It’s been shown that, in order to neutralize the emotional impact of criticism, one must affirm five times. So remember that ratio: five affirmations to one criticism.