The One Habit that can change your life forever! ~~~~~~ Bid farewell to CRITICISM
Time and again, I have often wondered — ‘How can I transform some of my deeply ingrained habits’? Throughout my journey until now there have been moments of motivation where I have felt inspired to change some of my old patterns and inculcate new ones. I have done them for a while but have failed to sustain them in a manner that they feel natural to me. It was only recently that I stumbled across a very deep realization — the key to sustained self transformation is simple — ‘stay away from criticism’!
Stop Self Criticism
The worst and most harmful form of criticism is to criticize ourselves. Most often, critical people are highly self -critical which is why they often resort to criticizing others as a form of ego defense. Right from childhood we have been taught that criticism is the only way to change.
A naughty child often gets told that he /she should realize how wrong he was and try to not repeat the mistake again. Soon the child starts to believe that he has several ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ habits which he needs to change. He grows up into an adult who also believes that he needs to transform his ‘bad’ habits and the struggle to change begins. Often habits that are transformed through this kind of personal struggle which in many contexts is referred to as ‘making sincere efforts’ have their key ingredient to transformation as force or will power.
Will Power has no real power
Will power infuses force which in return brings ‘morality’, introducing rules and laws in the society. As free beings, we do not really like to be bound by regulations and enjoy our freedom thoroughly. Also, in our most natural state of freedom, we are innately pure and our actions are automatically elevated. However, when forced morality is introduced by means of laws and rules, we often have to work harder to guard those rules and laws, thus getting caught up in a perpetual cycle of struggle.
Thus, it is time to let go of our acquired ideas of morality and touch base with our true free selves. It is time to start completely accepting ourselves, trusting in our innate goodness and the goodness of the Universe and cultivate deep self appreciation. This in my view is the key to personal strength and transformation.
Criticism only makes our Egos feel better
Criticism never really works because our intention behind criticizing someone is not really genuine change. But criticism stems from our ego as we are able to mask our own inferiority complexes and hidden weaknesses by being critical of others. The ego starts to believe that we are actually ‘superior’ to them or we are ‘better than them’ and that gives us a temporary sense of high. However, if you have ever criticized anyone, you would know that criticism drains our energy and hence leaves us feeling empty.
Genuine transformation however, requires a lot of positive and creative energy and hence criticism is clearly not the way. Forced will power or fear of punishments can bring about temporary changes but when change is rooted in fear, it gives rise to perpetual anxiety. Hence criticism cannot pave the path for any major societal reforms or for a collective shift in human consciousness.
The way to genuine and lasting transformation
Trusting the Intention -
Criticism often springs from mistrust. When we doubt the intentions of others or of the Universe itself, we tend to become critical. Very often we are so attached to our own ideas, thoughts and opinions of how things should be that we fail to see and appreciate another view point. We therefore start doubting everyone who is seemingly ‘different’ from ourselves as being ‘wrong’. This mistrust acts as a springboard for criticism. Since trust is natural to human nature, the best way forward is to connect with our truest selves and start trusting ourselves, others and the genuine goodness of the Universe.
As it is rightly said, ‘Whatever happens is always for the Best’. This age old piece of wisdom comes in handy when we start developing trust on life, knowing that whatever happens to us at this moment is exactly what we should be getting and hence is the best. This trust silences the mind and its unnecessary struggles and allows us to accept and appreciate others even if their viewpoints differ from ours.
Acceptance — Trust — Appreciation
Trust automatically breeds acceptance, which is the second step towards transformation. The deeper our habits and ‘sanskars’ are, the more energy, love and acceptance we would need to transform them. This is exactly the same in case of helping others transform. This positive energy cannot be created without genuinely accepting ourselves and others for who they are.
When we begin to trust ourselves, the genuine goodness in others and the goodness of the Universe, our intentions transform, allowing us to accept ourselves and others, thus, enabling to bring about a shift in the deep-rooted habits and sanskars of others. An energy of acceptance and trust makes a person feel appreciated and acknowledged. This energy in turn manifests as positive vibrations which catapult a person on the path to genuine and everlasting change.
But I can’t stop criticizing Bcoz it’s a habit
The best way to transform the habit of criticizing ourselves and others is to just be aware of it. Every time you notice a voice in your head that says, ‘ this is wrong’ or ‘he should not be behaving like that’ or ‘I am as clumsy as ever’; just become aware. Don’t try to force yourself to change or refrain from judging and labeling yourself. Just become aware and gently change it.
Deep honesty and earnestness is what is needed. It is okay to keep falling back to our old patterns of criticism because they are so deeply ingrained in us, however, just being aware each time we are there, will help reduce it’s frequency. Because in the moment when we are aware; we are not criticizing. Our minds are present and grounded in the NOW as we become aware of our very deep and old patterns and in that awareness, they gently transform.
Building a Culture of Appreciation
Let us start by being completely accepting and non — judgemental for a few weeks and observing ourselves by being very aware of our responses to situations and people. Acceptance allows us to become sensitive to other’s issues and see things from their perspective. It is a healing energy for ourselves as well as others. When anyone feels acknowledged and appreciated, they are automatically motivated.
So, let us start a culture of acceptance and appreciation at our homes and workplace and be agents of seamless transformation of human attitude and nature, enabling people to connect back with their wholeness, their innate beauty and magnificence, as we all collectively progress towards a wholesome and integrated world