“Any fool can criticize, and many of them do.”- Cyril Garbett
It’s impossible to live without unwarranted advice. Often we are told what to do and how to complete the given task. And sometimes these know-it-alls will tell us that we can’t do something and that is what bothers me the most. I can handle feigning interest when listening to advice that I figured out way before they did or is not helpful, but being told that I’m not capable of the task racks my nerves and flashes my ire. Before I open my mouth to vocalize the best insult I’ll ever regret five seconds later, I try to remember three simple things that help control my tongue.
1) Who is giving the advice? The identity of the person who is giving criticize can change the context of what is being said.
a. Does this person usually offer good insight? If they often do maybe you should give the criticizer a little leeway. Collapsing the bridge into the water won’t be beneficial in the future when you might seek out advice.
b. What is their personality like? Bluntness, though sometimes refreshing, can be the result of the inability to use tact. The adviser could be truly desirous to help but is not sure how to get their thought across in an acceptable manner.
2) What is the tone? Recognizing how something is said is far more important than what is said.
a. What inflection is in use? A single sentence can have a variety of meanings. If the end of the criticism is a higher pitch than the beginning, then the comment is a question not a doubt.
b. What is the texture of their voice? If it is soft or docile than person is genial and sincere. But if it feels like sandpaper was rubbed across your face than they aren’t being amiable.
3) What does their body language convey? Humans communicate verbally only 7% of the time, we use visual clues the other 93%.
a. What stance does their body use? If their arms are crossed and their torso is angled away than the chances they are being negative is significantly higher. If their feet are pointing towards you or they make physical contact they aren’t trying to hurt your feelings.
b. What eye contact is being used? In western cultures, direct eye contact is a sign of respect and sincerity; don’t worry if it isn’t constant. If they won’t meet your eye at all then they are subconsciously untruthful.
After mentally checking this list, not only do I have a better idea of why the criticism was said or what it means, but enough time has passed for me to calm down and gain control of my tongue. If we let our brain bridle our words than we can deal with difficult situations and we don’t have to waterlog the bridge that connects two people. Don’t degrade yourself as another fool who criticizes.
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