How To Shift The Focus From Criticism To Curiosity

By Audrey Lee

How To Shift The Focus From Criticism To Curiosity

January 4th, 2022 at 5:50 am

It’s one of the most human things about us – to constantly focus on the flaws in ourselves and others. It’s in our nature to persistently try to jump into becoming the ideal person we wish ourselves to be. Although this can make us strive to grow and become the best versions of ourselves, other times we can end up holding ourselves to certain standards we have to reach, and standards we sometimes expect others to reach; whether they are close loved ones or even complete strangers we see on the internet. 

 

It’s important to know that constantly striving for perfection can become toxic; and holding certain high expectations towards others too, can become toxic. How about when we find ourselves criticizing strangers we see on social media? When we notice ourselves criticizing strangers we have no clue about, we may want to ask ourselves whether it’s because we have subconsciously detached ourselves from being empathetic or even occasionally, whether it’s because of our own insecurities. 

 

It can be hard to not compare ourselves to past versions or to expected versions of ourselves; as well as reminding ourselves that it isn’t our position to speak of our loved one’s lives as if we are the dictator of how they live theirs. As for strangers that we see on the internet, we could do some self-reflection and ask ourselves why we hold certain opinions towards them. Are they from our own deep rooted insecurities? Or if they live their life nothing like how we wish to live ours, are we critical perhaps because we actually just aren’t happy with ours? 

 

Replacing Criticism With Curiosity 

With all this talk of criticism, we may want to self-reflect and try practicing being more mindful so that when we catch these versions of ourselves present, we’ll know what to try doing instead.

 

When finding yourself being critical towards yourself:

  • Replace doubting your own potential with an open-mind of questions such as, “What if it all turns out better than I had hoped for?”. This can open your curiosity of what you are truly capable of if you just gave yourself the chance. You just might apply for that job you were so afraid of.
  • Release expectations of where you should be, how you should act, what you should look like, and instead become curious about the kind of person you could become if you just released all that weight from your shoulders.
  • Remind yourself that when it comes to mistakes, it can be sensible to self-reflect and / or apologize if the situation calls for it. However, after you’ve taken the time, replace that self-criticism with the curiosity of the person you will now continue growing into after experiencing a possible lesson. 

 

When finding yourself being critical towards someone you don’t know:

  • Replace the criticism with empowerment instead. Support how they dress, how they talk, and how they present themselves to the public. Be happy for them instead, that they are expressing themselves the way they wish to!
  • Release all comparisons. Whether it’s comparing yourself to them or them to others, remember, everyone’s different and it is perfectly okay to live a life that is different from how others wish to.
  • Remind yourself to be empathetic. Everyone’s trying their best.

 

When finding yourself being critical towards a loved one:

  • Replace judgment with interest. Interest to see where they go in life with their own decisions. They may find it incredibly loving knowing you stand with them and their choices.
  • Release expectations. Even if your expectations and care comes from a place of love and wanting to see them live their best life. Try releasing yourself from focusing on their flaws, and instead be open to knowing that there is so much more to them than their mistakes and your expectations of them. 
  • Remind yourself that even if you don’t agree with them, it isn’t up to us to dictate how someone else should live their life.

 

Whether it’s having an opinion on the way a stranger chooses to present themselves online, or the way a friend decides on how they want to live their life, we can definitely try being more empathetic and accepting by replacing criticism with curiosity instead. And as we find ourselves letting go and supporting how they wish to live, we may find ourselves being a lot kinder not only to them but to ourselves too.

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