TL/DR: No criticism whatsoever, not of yourself and not of others
Life is full of valleys and peaks. There is always something to complain about. It’s not true that successful people don’t complaint. Everyone complaints. Life is not perfect. There are things that could be different and better. But often times, we don’t look at things as something to improve upon, rather we judge them as not good enough.
It is possible to improve things and ourselves without any need of criticism, if we focus on facts and eliminate all the judgments that we bring from our perspective. E.g., I forgot to put salt in my soup. This is a fact. If we add, I am forgetful so I forgot to put the salt, that’s a criticism. Take this to any area of your life. My boyfriend left me because I am not good enough. Let’s distinguish fact from judgment. Your boyfriend left. That’s it. There is no reason to criticize yourself or him.
This is not to downplay the need to improve but rather accelerating this improvement. When we focus on facts, it’s easier to tackle the main problems. As humans, we add our feelings to all aspects especially when something implies that we are not good enough. It hurts us. Unfortunately, it also adds additional layer that needs to be opened up before we can get to the underlying problem.
It may not be easy at first, but if we can focus on practicing in differentiating facts from judgments, we can accelerate our healing. See the below examples that differentiate between critical and non-critical views.
|Example||Critical Point Of View (POV)||Fact based POV|
|My boyfriend left me||My boyfriend left me because I am not good enough, he is not a good person, etc.||My boyfriend left me. It hurts. It has nothing to do with me because we are all free to do things we desire. I may have made mistakes based on what I believed in the past. From now on I will try my best make better decisions.|
|I did not get a promotion||I didn’t get a promotion because of office politics. I did more work than others, I deserve it more than others. Life is not fair.||I did not get promotion. It’s disappointing. I tried my best but at the end, this is not something that I control. I will continue to improve myself and review various options to make my life better.|
As I said, this approach is not easy at the beginning. With practice, we can become better. This will not reduce our mistakes but it will shorten the time it takes to learn from our mistakes and move on.