Don’t Criticise and Complain

The first principle from Dale Carnegie is “Don’t criticise, condemn or complain.”

It’s interesting when you focus on this, how difficult this can be. It seems, as a species, we default to criticism.  I think of myself as a generally positive person who thinks well of people, and I noticed how easily I can get caught in a trap of criticising and complaining.

My wife was talking about our four parents and their health issues, related both to their age and the amount they look after their bodies. Three of the four are taking medication related to blood pressure and/or cholesterol. Only my mother doesn’t take medication and it’s because she’s had a twenty-year routine of exercise and health as a life priority.

But as my wife criticized the attitudes of our parents I realized that she and I and everyone else, (except perhaps for a very small minority) can really criticize from any point of authority. As my wife lay tired on the couch, I questioned her about her health. Admittedly it’s better than three of our parents, but she also has a 30 year head start. Health and exercise, though important for my wife, are not a high priority, and though her health is good, it could certainly be better.

I don’t want to sound overly critical of my wife, because my health could also be far better, and to that end I’ve re-invigorated myself toward exercise and health.

The point here is not to criticize, but to illustrate a point, that criticism actually turns out to be very hypocritical from the criticizer’s end. If you can’t live up to the expectations yourself, how can you possibly criticize someone else for not doing the same.

Jesus said, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone.”

Rather it might be more productive to encourage the other person, lead by example, or join them in pursuing a joint goal.

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