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If You Are Always Criticizing Your Partner, Read This

If You Are Always Criticizing Your Partner, Read This

Constructive criticism does not hurt.  It advises and informs. If you take it up another notch beyond constructive, it can destroy someone’s life.  You may think you are helping if you are always criticizing your partner, but something else is happening.  You find yourself alone or trapped in a negative cycle.  There are consequences when you point a finger at someone.  Here are 10 bad side effects of criticizing your partner:

1. He/she will hide things from you

Your partner may be tempted to keep secrets if you routinely spew negativity and criticism.  If you are always criticizing your partner, think twice.  Your partner may be taking on new risks/challenges without you knowing.  You may be missing out on their growth, learning experiences, and the intimacy of a healthy relationship.

2. He/she will secretly resent you

A build up of criticism can lead to closeted resentment.  Resentment shows up when you most need your partner—on your deathbed or co-signing on a loan.  Resentment is worse than hate because, like the background music in an elevator, you don’t always notice.  It’s there while everything else looks normal. Walking around with resentment is painful and makes others vulnerable to future hurt.

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3. He/she will not give you the space to make your own mistakes

Sitting on a person’s pedestal may be nice in the beginning.  The overly criticized partner will admire you, perhaps too much.  They will give you no room to mess up, as you become the light to their darkness.  If you are always criticizing your partner, you inadvertently build your own jail.

4. He/she may seek validation online or elsewhere

A partner who is overly criticized needs an outlet.  It can be as innocent as reading a book alone or more risky like venting to someone who is emotionally available, caring and compassionate.  Leaving the door open to this can create dire consequences that can lead to the end of your relationship.

5. He/she will tune you out

After consistent criticizing, your partner will stop listening and stop caring.  Wait, what’s that you said?  Exactly.

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6. He/she will see you as a burden

Nobody wants to go into a relationship with a job.  Daily life is enough of a hassle.  If your partner overly criticizes you, you may see them as a drag, a burden, and a problem.  Your overly criticized partner may want to stay with you, but they simply cannot handle doing the work.

7. He/she will become a punching bag for the qualities you hate about yourself

Like everyone else, your partner is a reflection of your innermost self—some parts you don’t even know.  Criticizing your partner is an act of projection.  Your partner may look like they have the problem, when it’s really you. Is your partner always late?  You reminded him/her for the thousandth time.  You may see this as an act of disrespect when your teachers in elementary school ignored you.  Now, it’s up to your partner to make you feel good again.  Fix your own life, first.

8. He/she will lose self-confidence

Keep criticizing your partner and they will lose the energy to live life to the fullest.  They may become indecisive, disempowered and complacent.  Would you be happy with a partner like that? Consider how that would affect your life.

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9. He/she will become dependent on you

Your partner may give up completely.  After constantly complaining to your partner that he/she does not help out around the house, they may stop altogether.  You’ll end up with the brunt of all the tasks, decision making, and planning in more than one area of your life.  Congratulations, you just created your own worst nightmare.

10. He/she will lose courage to try new things to advance their lives

Worst of all, an overly criticized partner may become stuck and stagnant.  Regret will grow in them each day for the life they did not live or the places they did not go.  They will blame you, whether it is fair or not.

Then how to give constructive criticism lovingly?

  • Choose the right time: Never judge your parter when he/she has just gone through a tough time. Only give constructive criticism when they are calm and they can give you their full attention.
  • Go for dialogue rather than monologue: No one likes being told to do something so make sure you can create a space where both of you can express your thoughts and listen to each other’s point of view.
  • Show appreciation before giving criticism: If you want your partner to accept your criticism, always highlight what you appreciate him/her first. After they let their guard down and know that you have good intention, they will take your criticism more positively.

Keep in mind, everyone is responsible for his or her own life.  You can’t make an overly criticized partner give up unless they already wanted to, or had talked themselves into it.  However, if you are always criticizing your partner, you can make it a lot easier.  Instead, choose your words carefully. Give advice only when asked and show empathy more often. What you do to others, will in some way be done to you—literally or figuratively.  Think wisely.

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Featured photo credit: Caleb George via ununsplash.imgix.net

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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