“Have you ever heard such expressions as:
Who does she think she is?” or, “That’s not so wonderful. I could have done better myself”?
No doubt all of us have, and yet how much better it would be if such things went unsaid! Or, better than that, if one did not even have such critical thoughts!
What causes some to have critical thoughts about others?
Well, another person may be getting undue attention, or may be receiving high praise.
Or it could be that another may betray an eagerness for attention and praise. So it may be that in one’s reaction to the situation a tinge of envy is involved.
Even if not expressed in words, critical thoughts, nevertheless, can do harm. They tend to deteriorate relations with others.
They may also do harm to the one that thinks them. This is because that which affects the mind also affects the body.
Among the unkind thoughts that we ought to guard against are those that show undue suspicion. Why?
In dealing with friends, relatives, close associates and, in particular, with family members, it is better to trust others.
Even if problems arise, give them the benefit of the doubt. It is better to be disappointed occasionally than to be unduly suspicious, as though everyone were ready to take advantage of you.
Many husbands and wives make their lives unhappy because of being unduly suspicious of each other.
How much happier their marriage would be if they made it a point to think of each other in a kindly way!
Especially as regards our view of the motives of other people should we be on guard against having critical thoughts and always questioning the motives of others. What is the danger in this?
Well there is always the danger of trying to prove one’s suspicions true, and thus making oneself the adversary of others unnecessarily.
Critical thoughts also result from expecting too much of others.
It is good to realize that what may seem small and insignificant to us may represent a great victory or achievement on the part of another.
In homes where there is a “generation gap,” is it not largely due to parents being too critical of their children, and children being too critical of their parents?
They could well learn from the Turkish proverb: “He who seeks a friend without a fault will be without one.”
Especially is there need for travelers to be on guard against unduly critical thoughts when they visit foreign lands.
Strange sights and customs may well cause one to compare unfavorably what one sees with conditions in one’s own land.
Instead, would it not be better to exercise empathy, putting oneself in the shoes of others, as it were?
Doing so, one will be able to make allowances, recognizing to what extent the people are the victims of circumstances.
Rightly viewed, one can sincerely admire them for what they are able to accomplish under existing conditions.
Learn to enjoy what others do by noting their good points instead of being overly conscious of their shortcomings.
Do not be like the foolish person who, noting a speaker’s repetition of a certain expression, kept counting how many times the speaker used it.
How much more he would have benefited from the talk if he had concentrated on the arguments presented and appreciated the speaker’s sincerity!
So, for your own sake and in the interest of good relations with other people guard against critical thoughts.