The issue of criticism cannot be ignored in a relationship. This is because we all have weaknesses. There is the tendency for you to react to your partner’s weaknesses through criticism. It’s therefore imperative to learn how to criticise constructively.
While criticising, you have to be very careful. And you can only do this by checking your motive and making sure it is right. If you don’t, you might end up creating strife in your relationship.
Destructive criticism is dangerous and could destroy a relationship. It could make the other partner feel inferior, shameful and humiliated. Even when you criticise someone, there is no guarantee the person being criticised will change except you criticise the right way.
You can criticise someone without being unduly critical. Attack the issue and not the person.
You often hear people say, “Allow me; let me give him a piece of my mind.” Such people keep giving a piece of their mind until they loose their mind. The situation then deteriorates into physical violence.
When criticising anyone, be it your spouse; your friend or anyone within your sphere of influence, make sure your reason for criticism is genuine.
If the issue or situation is of a genuine concern to you, it will affect the way you criticise and then the person will change. But when the motive is wrong, then you will get otherwise. Therefore the legitimate reason for criticism should be to improve the other partner and for the relationship to grow. This is why it is necessary that you learn how to criticise constructively. Here are tips to help you criticise constructively:
1. Develop the ability and the attitude to overlook things
Most of the things you criticise your partner for are not important, because you ignore these things when you experience them outside. Overlooking some of these issues would help save your relationship the strife that might come up because of undue criticism.
2. Find out if the reason you want to criticise is due to an emotional expression that comes from fear, or if it’s because you are tired
You have to be sure you are not under pressure otherwise your criticism will be biased. Do you criticise out of fear? It could be the fear of not knowing the outcome of an event or a situation. This also leads to destructive criticism.
3. Get your timing right and find out if the person is in the right frame of mind.
4. Use the right tone and body language.
5. Focus on the issues and not the person.
6. Use more of “I” in your conversations rather than “You”.
For instance, rather than saying, “You are not making sense.” It is better to say “I’m having difficulty understanding what you are saying.” The statement “I” takes responsibility while criticising.