As this Friday is Valentine’s Day, images and messages of love seem to be everywhere. The emphasis is on feeling rather than thinking. As you think about the family, friends, clients/customers and colleagues that inhabit your life, career and business, ask yourself are you constantly critical or consistently complimentary of these individuals? Are you more apt to say something when they are doing something wrong and say nothing when they are doing something right? Do you assume that they recognize your silence as acceptance and your words as rejection of their idea, action or opinion? How often do you tell and show them how important they are to you and how much you appreciate who they are and what they do for you?
You may have fallen into the bad habit of taking for granted the special, strong and supportive people who have been long-term inhabitants of your life, career and business. You feel that there are times and situations when you can treat them with dismissive disrespect. You know that they will forgive you if you are in a bad mood, have a forgettable day, treat them horribly or take out your anger or frustration with someone or something else on them. You feel that you can count on them to be there for you and count them in when you need help. You may also have decided that your constant criticism of them is your way of showing that you care and helping them to be the best that they can be.
When you are constantly critical of others, there is usually nothing wrong with them and something wrong with you. Someone or something is bothering, worrying or stressing you out. You feel so safe and secure with the inhabitants of your life, career or business that you see no problem in telling them your troubles or dumping your problems on them by constantly criticizing and frequently finding fault with what they do or say. If you do this once or twice, they will forgive you. However, if this has been the norm for some time, you may have noticed that these individuals are harder to reach, return e-mails and phone calls late or not at all and sound distant and disengaged when you speak with them.
If you can see yourself in the last two paragraphs then it is time to turn the page, change your attitude, become less critical and more complimentary. Here is an idea. Take an hour over the next two days and make a list of all of the important people in your life, career and business. On Friday, Valentine’s Day, send them a short e-mail or voicemail and tell them how much you appreciate them and pay them a compliment. Make Friday the start of your turning over a new leaf and focusing on being consistently complimentary at every opportunity. When you find yourself feeling bored, frustrated or out of sorts, avoid slipping back into your bad habit and keep paying compliments to those you know, those you don’t know and those you would like to know better. You will not only make someone’s day but you will also feel fantastic and fly out of your funk.
Commit to being consistently complimentary and avoid being constantly critical.