There are going to be people in life who critique and discourage whatever it is you happen to be doing. There are many others of course who, even with a little constructive criticism here and there, will encourage and help you move forward.
My first reaction to those who immediately find fault in every idea and situation is to distance myself–not because I expect everyone to like and agree with everything I do and think, but because I’ve learned these people aren’t going to like or agree with anything I do or think; they’re going to drag me down and prevent me from moving forward with joy and confidence.
I call these people downers. Downers miss out on so much: They miss out on being close to people because people don’t trust them and don’t want to be close. They miss out on all the parts of the life and self people keep tucked away from their critical words.
I’ve been asking myself today:
- Am I a downer?
- Am I the person who finds fault with others and constantly discourages when I should be lifting up?
- Are my words, thoughtless or otherwise, hurtful to those around me?
- Am I being sarcastic when I should be honest and compassionate?
- Am I a person others can turn to with vulnerable ideas and feelings or am I someone people hide thoughts and feelings from to protect themselves?
Not every idea is a good idea. Not every action deserves a pat on the back. But if it is in my power to encourage and build up those around me in an honest, constructive way, that is exactly what I should be doing.