Read this article and be honest. We won’t judge. Whether you’ve criticised someone publicly or privately, in conversation with someone else or just inside of your head, you’ve likely done it so you can feel better about yourself. But, here’s the thing about criticism: it can be toxic and damaging behaviour, not just for the person at the butt of your judgement, but for you too.
Criticism is like drinking too much coffee. It tastes good at the time but leaves you jittery, anxious and low. While it might make you feel better for a split second, the effects of criticism are short-lived.
Criticism kills your vibe…
Scientifically speaking, we get a hit of the feel-good hormone dopamine immediately after we put someone down. But over time, researchers say gossiping and criticism can lower your mood, affect your self-confidence, and even dampen your productivity.
At an energetic level, criticism can block you from moving forward in life, amplify negative and limiting beliefs you have about yourself, and weaken the powerful, loving energy that is at the root of who you are.
It’s simply impossible to be high vibe and judgmental at the same time so by indulging in criticism you aren’t just harming someone else, but you and your energy too.
If you find it hard to be happy for other people’s successes, know this: it doesn’t make you a terrible person. Judgement is something each and every one of us struggles with, and there are steps you can take to change.
Here’s what we want you to know before we dig in: The happiest, most joyful people are the ones who have no time to judge others or judge themselves. They don’t view another’s success as their personal failure, and they operate from a place of love and compassion, rather than judgement and fear.
When you ditch criticism, you shift energetically and clear the way for abundance and successes in your own life. Want a slice of this high-vibe, criticism-free pie? Great! Let us show you how. But first…
Judging others. Why do we do it?
It provides temporary relief
Humans sometimes lash out when they’re in pain, and if you’ve passed judgement or said something mean about someone it’s often because you’re feeling bad about yourself and are looking for a quick way to feel better.
The thing is, while making a nasty comment might make you feel a little better in the short term, it usually comes back to bite you because judgement carries a very low vibration.
Not convinced? Just think about a time someone has said something nice about you and compare it to a time you received criticism, and you’ll feel the difference.
Have you ever found yourself full of raging jealousy after a quick scroll on Instagram? Or felt consumed by envy when a friend’s life is going swimmingly while yours seems to be going to disastrously?
Comparisionitis is a pretty common thing, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Trouble is, when we compare ourselves to others and feel bad about ourselves we often seek temporary relief by making unhelpful or judgemental comments as a way of levelling the playing field again.
But tearing down someone else doesn’t guarantee your success and it usually only makes you feel worse. Basically? There’s truth to the adage that comparison is the thief of joy and criticism steals your happiness too.
It’s a mirror
Did you know the things we judge in others are often the things we judge in ourselves? Criticising a pal for being loud and annoying? There could be a chance you feel the same way about yourself. Knocking a celebrity for her taste in clothes? Maybe you aren’t feeling so good about your own sense of style.
Likewise, we tend to knock people who appear to be doing better than us because we worry we aren’t doing so great in our own lives. In short, often when we’re judging others, what we’re really doing is judging ourselves.
How To Quit The Criticism Habit
Be kind to yourself first
When you make a nasty comment about someone, it’s often because you’re hurting. Up until this point, you’ve been using criticism as a response to pain. While it isn’t nice to be unkind about others, we’ve no doubt you were doing your best to deal with some difficult emotions.
So instead of being consumed with guilt or giving yourself a hard time about something you might have said in the past, use this as your opportunity to learn from it and move forward.
Imagine they are listening
Feeling tempted to make an unkind remark about someone you know? Imagine how they would feel if you said this comment to their face. Would you still say it if they could hear? Picture what their reaction would be.
The energy you put out into the world through your words and actions shapes your experience and when you can picture the impact of your comment you’re less likely to say it out loud.
Make a choice about how you want to feel
Have you ever suffered a judgement hangover? It’s a little like drinking a few too many G&Ts and suffering the effects the next day, except instead of overdoing it at the bar, you’ve overindulged in judging, criticising, and gossiping. And the effects are similar.
Just like a real hangover, a judgement hangover can leave you feeling drained, uninspired and low. You might even feel disappointed with yourself and guilty.
Stop the urge to criticise in its tracks by considering this feeling before you make an offhand comment. Once you know that criticising others ultimately impacts you and your mood you’ll be less inclined to do it and you can make a choice to speak differently.
Put the brakes on scrolling
We like to call social media the catalogue of perfection. And it can spark uncomfortable feelings of inadequacy, envy and insecurity.
In her new book Comparisonitis, Melissa Ambrosini writes, “All it takes is the hint of someone doing or having something you perceive as “better” than you, and it hits. A feeling takes over—intense, blinding, gutting. Your brain starts spinning with toxic thoughts about yourself (or others), and you’re left feeling ashamed, guilty, and even worthless.”
Her remedy focuses on rebuilding your self-esteem and the great news is there are countless ways you can do that, from jotting down what you’re most proud of in your copy of The Head Plan every day to cultivating positive self-talk.
Taking a break from scrolling or putting limits on your social media activity can certainly help too.
Suss out what’s really going on
Remember that thing we said about how the things we judge in others are normally the things we judge in ourselves? Well, judgement is a little like holding a mirror up to your own insecurities.
At first blush, that probably doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, but in reality, it can be a powerful way to identify your doubts, fears and limiting beliefs.
Next time you see your green-eyed monster emerge ask yourself what you’re jealous of and take some time to explore it. Are you green with envy because someone else has something you think you can’t have?
Work through it and remember, if someone else has done it then so can you. Instead of holding you back, their achievement can be the thing that inspires you to move forward.
Embrace compassion instead of attack
This is a tactic Gabby Bernstein introduces in her book the Judgement Detox. For an easy way to establish whether your comments are set to ‘compassion’ or ‘attack’ ask yourself, is this comment loving? Would the person on the receiving end of this comment be happy to hear it?
If the answer is no, you have the power to change tact.
When flexing your compassion muscle, a healthy dose of perspective can work wonders. Judging someone for a mistake they made? Remember we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Sometimes we make a lot of them. And occasionally we make really huge embarrassing blunders.
If you messed up, would you want people making snide, cruel or inconsiderate remarks? Of course not. Bear this in mind next time you’re tempted to comment on someone else’s faux pas.
If it’s other people’s successes that make you want to lash out, it can be helpful to see the bigger picture behind that celebratory Instagram post.
Did they likely put hours of hard work and determination into making it happen? Did they overcome a bunch of challenges to get to where they are now, and with the right energy and action can you be just as successful as they are now? Yes, yes, and yes.
Killing them with kindness…
Big things happen when you switch from criticism to kindness. Not only do you uplift and empower others with your positive, loving, sunshine-like energy, you uplift and empower yourself too. And now you have the tools to do just that.
So go on, get out there and kill it with kindness.