Could you go a week without criticizing anyone? Could you go a day? Sadly, we do most of our criticizing at home. Out in the world, we are on our best behavior. At home, however, those restraints are removed and we criticize those we love the most.
When I work with couples, I try to interrupt the viscous cycle of criticism. The wife who says, “You never take me anywhere,” is encouraged to say, “I wish we went out more often.” The husband who says, “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” is coached to say, “I don’t see it the way you do.” Often, how we say something is more important than what we say.
The purpose of criticism is to influence the other person’s behavior. It’s OK to want the person to change. Unfortunately, when you criticize most people, they become defensive. They make excuses or criticize you back. Criticism just doesn’t work!
So, since it doesn’t work anyway, give it up. Try turning those negative comments into positive requests. You’ll feel better and so will your loved ones.