Pity the critical man, for he lives in a world of fools – Unknown Author
Do you ever listen to yourself? Hear the words coming out of your mouth? Just occasionally when I am trapped in my mindstream I start swearing; effing this and B… that !! People who don’t know me can be a bit surprised because I dress fairly conservatively and have a slightly posh British accent. But swear I do and it is an excellent reminder to stop right there and listen to myself. I usually swear when I am being critical and judgmental; when I am deciding that things are not so favourable!! Being a somewhat emotional type, in case you hadn’t gathered from The Ugly Duckling has Landed, my thoughts can sometimes swing the other way and leave me foul mouthed for short periods. But I have learned to stop and take stock in such times. I realise how negative I am being and how I am clouding and creating my world by being critical of what is always a neutral event.
I had a boss five years ago who lived in a world of fools. Literally. Life had led him to believe that he was superior and that everyone his company employed was stupid. Being his PA, I would hear him rant and rave about these unsuspecting souls; the same people that I found most perceptive and delightful. Not surprisingly, in the year and a half that I worked there, 30 out of 37 staff left. The ones that remained were in the ‘inner circle’ for whatever reason and were being paid well above average for what they did. Of course he was surrounded by the same people we are always surrounded by. Human beings. Just people. But he felt hard done by, as though HR were carefully choosing the biggest morons in Australia. And it became self-fulfilling.
The strange thing was that I became a little ‘stupid’. I would let him fluster me with his permanently steely, unwavering, expressionless stare and I would make mistakes, thereby justifying his opinion. I can’t speak for the others. I think he had no idea of having created his own world. He saw only the examples which led him to believe the world was that way. While I was there I hated him for making me feel stupid, then I pitied him for alienating everyone around him. With hindsight he is just another human being doing his best and he obviously enjoys his world and his views, on some level, as we all do. So I don’t agree with this quote that you have to pity the critical. They are ‘rewarded’ in some way, as we all are, or we wouldn’t behave the way we do. As long as we can see that we create our own inner and outer world.
I have often been described often as excitable, enthusiastic, full of boundless energy, way too talkative. I get told to settle down, ‘calm your farm’. People get out their wooden spoons. I get asked where my off switch is. (Once I was told by a laughing shopkeeper I was talking to when I was 21 and had just moved to Australia to ‘never change’. You don’t often say that to your customers I imagine).
Because I criticised myself for being excitable at times, I would always be mortally offended. Now I smile, genuinely. I am no longer so self critical. I accept that I am who I am and they are who they are. They can say what they like. It’s just words, their opinion. ‘The truth hurts’ is actually more about what you believe to be the truth. It isn’t necessarily the truth.
On a continuum I can be fairly extreme in some ways, but someone has to inhabit those realms and it might as well be me. I can handle it. I love it. I embrace it now. (I have also read a book which gives ten great, polite comebacks for these kinds of statements should we feel a response is expected).
So I like to check on what kind of world I am inhabiting from time to time. When I swear out loud to myself I am reminded to listen, reset, start again and change the judgmental, critical being that has temporarily taken over. I wasn’t enjoying it anyway. That is all it takes. Wake up, listen to yourself.
Since becoming more aware and present, and dropping the critical stance, my world is looking brighter, the people look more lovely. I inhabit a wonderful world. And I am not afraid to let it be known what I can see through my eyes. I see white where others see black. I see beautiful hair, or an elegant walk or exciting weather or magnificent colours. I see people doing their loving best, kids behaving exactly as they are supposed to, things which break because we no longer need them. What do you see?
PS the Unknown Author above is me. Sorry. I don’t usually lie.