Thursday, March 24, 2011

We add just as much pain to the world when we take offense as when we give offense.

I'm a self-help book junkie.  I have been for most of my life.  I realized early that I lacked a lot of information about how to live life and so have been looking for it for years.  I've noticed that there are an awful lot of nonsensical books out there that somebody wrote in order to promote his/her opinions.  The thing is, unless things have been tried and found effective, they're useless.  But there are a lot of facts that have been tried and found useful that seem to be totally ignored.  I was reading another one of those books this morning and found an idea I've seen a bunch of times before and tried again and again and it works.  However, on any given day I can see literally dozens of examples of people doing the exact opposite.

Here it is:  Criticism makes people fight back and resist change.  Worse yet, what usually happens is that the person being criticized either keeps doing what he/she is being criticized for or does it more.  Change only happens when people are supported, and it only occurs slowly like a plant growing.  It can't be forced by being criticized by another person.  

The book I was reading was, Breaking Free from Emotional Eating,by Geneen Roth.  Of course, the example she gave was of husbands criticizing wives for being overweight.  That absolutely never works.  In fact, the wives usually gain more and more weight.  The criticism gives them a lot of emotional pain which leads to more eating, etc. As an observer of relationships, I've noticed that spouses criticize each other a lot, which doesn't lead to change, which in turn fosters emotional pain on both their parts.  However, they never seem to notice that it's not working and continue to criticize for years and years and years.  Considering all the pain in the world, it looks to me like we humans should make it a priority to stop hurting each other unnecessarily.  There's nothing wrong with just asking for what we want from the other person without criticizing.

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