Why can't we just be happy for the award winners? Criticism V cultivation.
It’s awards season and they all have one thing in common - we all want our winner to be great, just not that great…
I’ve been watching (or snack watching) the awards over the last couple of weeks and something occurred to me… We love to bring the nominees and winners down a peg or two don’t we?
I thought back to all the corporate award ceremonies I’d been to, and yep, they all have a comedy MC. We love that pithy wit that knocks the great and good off their perch, but why? Recently we have seen The Oscars drop the host altogether (and the ratings went up!) and softer hosts like Joanna Lumley lead on The BAFTAS. Maybe we are getting a little tired of all the ‘bants’.
In a recent read of Lykke by Mike Wiking, it said that people believe critical comments to be of higher intelligence than complimentary ones. Wow, how sad 😢. We truly think that if we bring someone down instead of building them up we are better/more intelligent/worthy. But when it happens to us I’m guessing that, like me, it doesn’t make you believe that. In fact, you probably think the critic is a bit of a prat and not all that.
What if we were all cultivators instead of critics?
How about we build people up instead? How about we cultivate their confidence, their self-belief and their sparks of inspiration?
If we did that instead of criticising, I’m thinking that people would try more, reach further, take more action, achieve greater and be happier.
It feels GREAT to build people up. Just remind yourself how crappy you feel when you say something snarky to a loved one, now think about that good vibe you create with a positive comment.
OK, so maybe we believe that all those famous stars are big-headed enough as it is, that they don’t need our best wishes and cultivation. Well, just read just one of their autobiographies and you’ll see they have the same insecurities and fears as the rest of us. So, yes! They still need our positivity. Which leads me on to…
Give it out, then let it go.
I would rather be the person who freely gives out that cultivating energy than the person who won’t just in case people get ‘too big for their boots’.
I accept that once I have given my energy freely, it’s no longer mine to control.
How the other person takes and uses my energy is totally up to them. You will NEVER control other people. You basically have two choices here, criticise from a place of fear (I’m not enough) or cultivate from a place of love (I am enough).
Opinion is not creation.
We are all allowed an opinion. Some of us tend to think our opinion is the same thing as reality. It’s not.
Perception is reality
How people perceive the world around them is there only point of reality, no matter what your opinion of that is. Accept it.
Just because we have an opinion that doesn’t mean that it will create the reality we want.
I have an opinion that I’m overweight. If I criticise myself saying ‘girl, you are soooo fat!’ I break myself down and am overwhelmed with negative emotions. It stops me taking any action and I am paralysed with shame.
But if I say to myself ‘Kelly, you deserve to be fit and well, you are amazing and I want you to stay that way, let’s eat a bit better and move a bit more’, then I feel like I am worthy, like I am being held, like I can do this! It promotes action and commitment which in turn drive change.
Opinion is bit like reaction. And you probably heard or read my thoughts on reaction V creation. Opinion and reaction don’t create the life you really want. They just inflame, detach, escalate, damage and generally dissolve that life you are trying to build.
In my previous role at The One Off we had a value which was ‘strong opinions softly held’. I don’t remember any of the others but this one has stayed with me for years. I love it because it says ‘yes you can have an opinion, you do matter, but so does everyone else. Be open, be flexible.’
5 ways you can become less critic and more cultivator:
Catch your opinions before they exit your mouth, especially if you brain is saying words like ‘should’ or ‘must’.
Don’t let opinion lead to reaction. Basically don’t let your critical thoughts of others become actions. Stop before you sneer, insult, tut or any of the other myriad ways we have of being critical.
Have empathy. Before you criticise put yourself in their shoes. I didn’t love every act on The Brits, but boy did I respect them getting up and performing in front of millions!
Stop criticising yourself. The way you treat others is often a mirror to how you treat yourself. Give yourself some love and understanding and see how it changes your appreciation of others.
Be an individual. It’s easy to criticise in a group, easy to go with the mood of the crowd. Stand up and be counted, if you disagree with the criticisms then express a different view. Ask yourself ‘would I do this or say this if I were alone?’
Let’s all make people feel like this and I’ll bet we all end up feeling like this too!
Kelly Herrick is a creator & collaborator who helps people access more freedom & joy. She is also the strategic lead in an international design agency, a painter and mum of two boys.