Do You Know Someone Who is More Focused on Criticizing Others Than They are With Improving Themselves?

Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others. ~H Jackson Brown Jr.

Have you ever been around people who are so preoccupied with the inefficiencies of others? Those people have no problem telling you everything that is wrong with you. Yet, they will have a conniption fit if you even thought to question one of their decisions. They can go on and on pointing the finger at someone else, when they are clearly not impacted by the decision, so why should another person’s choices matter?

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I have learned that these are not the type of people I want close to me because I am focused on making Sharalyn better.

I have no time to waste evaluating someone else’s decisions, when there is so much work I need to do to make me better. I recall speaking with a former manager about the perception some members of the team had that I was “too professional, too buttoned up”. (We were in leadership positions in one of the largest and most conservative financial institutions in the world. Go figure). She proceeded to give me more conflicting feedback, which I listened, processed, and compartmentalized, when she couldn’t provide concrete examples. At the end of the 1:1, she asked my thoughts regarding the feedback she shared. I informed her that it was very interesting that people who hadn’t worked with me had and who had never met me had so much feedback to share regarding me. I also advised her I really wished I could find the time required to criticize and evaluate those who had no impact on me, my future, or my family. My spare time was spent adding value, enjoying life, and working to make me better. I was the youngest person on the team, the most educated and credentialed, and the only African-American. She laughed at my comment although she knew I was serious. Her facial expression revealed she really didn’t appreciate my remark.

I am 100% committed to becoming the best person I can be. My goal is to not only be the best person I can be, but I want to leave those who come into contact with me in a better state after me than they were before they met me. People should not leave my presence and be in a worse state than prior to having experienced me. I add value.

I remember encountering a young lady, who was beautiful on the outside, but she was the most critical and negative person that you could ever meet. It was as if she had a special talent or gift for criticizing everyone and pointing out other’s faults to the point where it was difficult to be around her for more than three minutes. I really wanted to like her, but her attitude and viewpoints of others prevented me from spending any quality time with her. She was negative – a toxic bomb dedicated to destroying all who entered her presence. We were polar opposites in this sense. While I saw the best in others, she was laser focused on identifying the worst.

I will never forget I was telling her about someone who did a lot in the community to help others and how I was so happy this very successful person was so giving and grounded and she told me that he (this person she had never met and didn’t even know his name) was probably only doing it to receive media attention. The individual I was speaking of had been actively involved in the community for well over 15 years with little to no media. She then began to tell me how I was “snowed” by individuals all the time. How did she know? I had only known her for a little over six months and we spent very little time together. At that moment, I could not resist asking her had she ever considered a job such as an Auditor or Inspector because she was truly gifted in identifying flaws and we needed that especially in government-regulated industries such as healthcare. I went on to tell her that it wasn’t that I was snowed, it was that I didn’t have time to focus on someone else’s life. I needed to focus on my own life. I couldn’t fix someone else, when I hadn’t yet mastered fixing myself.

You could cut the tension with a knife and I simply allowed the silence to be uncomfortable. There was no need for a follow-up statement because I was not interested in a debate. I only wanted to shed light and allow her to make the ultimate decision of remaining in a negative state or choosing to direct her energy to self-improvement. Criticizing and revealing truth are not always necessary nor are they interchangeable.

Question: Are you spending time criticizing or helping others? Why do you believe you have a license to criticize someone else?

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