The wisdom shared from the Spirit world during sessions is always meant to help us live better in the here and now. Theirs is a unique viewpoint; they've crossed that bridge and have seen the results of their actions from all perspectives. In other words, they know some good stuff about life.
While I was connecting a daughter to her mother in Spirit recently, the mother acknowledged that her daughter's marriage had undergone a transformation for the better, significantly better, in the last year. The woman smiled, and said to me, "It really has. We are much closer and happier now." Curious, I asked what she did that resulted in such an improvement? Her answer was simple, "I stopped criticizing my partner."
Inspired by her relationship transformation, I did an exhaustive search online for articles about criticism, the potential it yields for harm (HUGE) and the potential it might hold for positive change (small, and only when given by a unrelated third party).
Thinking back to when my children were very young, I remember times when a teacher or another parent would tell me something positive my child had done. I would think to myself, "Why do they act exactly the opposite at home? I've asked them a million times to do that!" I'll also never forget the day a dear friend of mine called in tears because a mutual friend had offered her "constructive criticism" in front of group of people. And who hasn't had a relative offer a cutting remark during the holidays?
I am not an expert in psychology, but I can tell you this: criticism is a killer when delivered by someone you love.
It wipes out trust.
It obliterates intimacy.
It causes pain.
It creates distance.
There are few places where criticism can be offered and accepted with helpful results; for example, when it is sought from a professional counselor or a trusted mentor. These specific people are teachers for us; we expect their feedback and are open to it.
But, when criticism comes from a parent, partner, lover, spouse, friend or relative it hurts. It damages the relationship. Our friends and family in the Spirit world have the benefit of seeing the big picture. Often they come through in a reading with apologies for judging others too harshly during their time on Earth. Their experience offers a valuable lesson for those of us willing to listen: it's time for a criticism cure.
Our basic needs in life, outside of food and shelter, are love and acceptance. These needs are universal.
The very fact that you are reading this blog means you are interested in self-awareness and spiritual growth. I'm willing to bet 100% of you have a fully-formed, inner critic who works overtime. You are aware of your issues, and the last thing you need is for your mother or spouse to highlight them for you.
A true intention to help someone comes from a place of love.
Whether you are trying to figure out how to deal with an outside critic or calm your own inner critic, remember that statement: A true intention to help comes from a place of love.
It can be hard to take criticism from a loved one, and even harder to look at ourselves as being too critical. Want to make changes in the way you approach your relationships? Offer loving and positive suggestions instead of highlighting what someone is doing wrong. Never attack a person; address their behavior.
Instead of saying to someone: "You have such a low self-esteem. Your life will just be full of problems until you correct that," try: "I really value you and our connection. You add something unique to my life. You've grown so much over the years, I notice the self work you are doing. I love you."
The best, strongest and most growth-oriented relationships are based on unconditional love, kindness and acceptance. People suffering with a low self-esteem are probably keenly aware of that, and having it thrown in their face again is not going to be helpful. Instead, offer encouragement. Relationships are mirrors that show us we are worthy of love.
Marriages and friendships don't end because the mutual support was just too much to handle, they end because the flaw-finding became toxic.
One of the best articles I discovered about what DOES work in a relationship is Masters of Love, by Emily Esfahani. My favorite quote from this article: "Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together. Research independent from theirs has shown that kindness (along with emotional stability) is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated-feel loved."
Many years ago while on vacation in Hawaii, I met a restaurant reviewer while relaxing at the pool. I'll never forget something he said to me, "We never give anyone a poor review. The unspoken rule here in Hawaii is, 'Never say bad.' We simply promote and highlight the restaurants that are doing a great job."
Imagine the fundamental change we could make in our relationships and our own happiness if we resolved to silence the critic and "Never say bad." Every word of support we choose over criticism is a seed for our relationship growth. What we plant now, in our homes, at our holiday gatherings and within ourselves will be harvested perennially in years to come. Treating one another with loving kindness, patience and gentleness could be the greatest gift we give to ourselves and those we love--no wrapping required. What will you choose to cultivate?
©Mollie Morning Star 2014 Short excerpts of this article may be shared on the internet provided a live link back to this original source is used. Reproduction in print is prohibited.