hese ladies might need to be schooled better, they come late to work and still deliver their tasks with such mediocrity.” These were Jane’s words merely a week into her job. She was an expert at picking faults in people, and she was convinced she was doing the right thing. Of course, if you asked her, Jane wouldn’t identify as a bitter person, but the words she often spoke to others cut deep, and her excuse would be: “people don’t like being told the truth”.
You may have good intentions, but still trigger an offense due to your delivery. Perhaps it’s the lack of tact in your tone, or people are tired of hearing all the things they did wrong at every opportunity. It’s not easy to accept you’re a critical person, especially when half the time you were right about it, or so you thought. While this might be a good work trait, you’re likely to lose relationships. Especially good ones.
Who is a critical person?
A critical person is someone quick to judge the decisions of others, who never hesitates to shed light on the mistakes of others, and rarely has anything kind to say to anyone and even themselves.
Why am I such a critical person?
Sometimes when a person is overly critical, it might have more to do about themselves than with their chosen object of criticism.
• It could be due to your upbringing. Perhaps you had critical parents, and perfection was the standard expectation
• An underlying mental health issue
• Perhaps, a sign of low self-esteem and insecurity
• A desire to boost our ego
• Superiority complex
Here are 5 clear signs you may be an overly critical person…
#1. You complain about everything
As an overly critical person, you believe someone must always get it wrong. When a person has done all the chores but missed a few, you’d rather focus on the undone tasks than compliment the job done. “Oh, I know you mowed the lawn and did the laundry, but how do you always leave the toilet seat open and dirty dishes in the sink?” There’s almost always a negative expectation of people and situations.
#2. You give unsolicited advice
It’s almost like an uncontrollable itch in the groins, as a critical person sees so much wrong that it’s impossible to keep it to themselves. It seems like they would burst if their observation isn’t expressed. If you’re that person, you’d notice how you always have the answer to how things could be carried out best.
#3. Do people often lie to you?
If most people in your life lie to you to avoid your criticism and/or judgment, this might be a sign you need to calm down and reevaluate your approach to situations. While this isn’t an excuse for lying, there’s a need to make your loved ones comfortable enough to share information without fear of their inadequacy being projected back at them.
#4. Observant to a fault
Nothing passes your nose without tingling your senses and fingers pointing in a critical manner. You see all the wrong things and a million ways to change them. This trait might catapult you up the career ladder, but might be a major turn-off in relationships. In addition, you always notice everything, and mostly the things found wanting. You might not know how to help it, as your mind has been trained to pick up details others might ignore, but you can choose to process it differently.
#5. Trust issues
It’s almost like walking with skeptical energy all day. A critical person believes that once they let their guard down, a person they trust might let them down. Hence, the need to remain in control and not expect anything from anyone for fear of disappointment. As an employer or guardian, you end up micro-managing people. This is a subtle way to tell them they can’t do anything right without your supervision. While this may make you feel good, remember there are different “right” ways to carry out a project, and it shouldn’t be limited to only yours.
Check out 5 effective ways to become a less critical person for yourself and others…
#1. Acknowledge the problem
When we seemingly have everything figured out, it’s hard to admit we can be wrong. Imagine being punctual, meeting set targets, and hitting the mark at all times. It takes a high level of humility not to look down on that clumsy co-worker or spouse. Take conscious efforts to reflect on your actions and how they might affect people around you. Once you can admit it, that’s the first step toward correcting this flaw. At this stage, try to understand the reason behind the urge to be overly critical of both oneself and others. This would help nip the urge in the bud.
#2. Say less
You might not be able to overlook the glaring observations, but you can choose to avoid offering unsolicited advice. Simply put, don’t say anything about everything you notice. Allow others to make mistakes by clicking the ignore button. Trust me, they know you noticed but would appreciate not being talked down on all the time. This could be particularly hard for a critical person, but with constant practice, it gets easier.
#3. Learn to listen
When you begin to see the world outside your rigid standards, you become flexible and open-minded. One way to apply this principle is to strive to become a good listener. This might be all a person needs to get comfortable around you and feel valued.
#4. Consciously highlight the good part
Note that being a critical person doesn’t automatically qualify a person as a terrible person. It could mean you’ve programmed your mind to emphasize the negative, and this means you can deliberately train your mind to highlight the positive aspect of things. The intentions are not always malicious. Rather, put all that energy into being intentional about positively boosting people in your space.
#5. Be open-minded
Most times, there is more than one way to solve situations. A critical person might be stuck in their own ways of doing things that they downplay every other way. Try to understand the reason behind the actions of others, and fight assumptions by double-checking information. Also, understanding the contextual reasons behind the decisions of others goes a long way. Focus on celebrating accomplishments and encouraging others to replicate their positive results.
Featured Image: Maria Voronovich | iStock
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