Remember the expression, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” Although, “don’t say anything at all” is not a good strategy in all situations, we can choose to deliver necessary truths with grace and love.
Constructive criticism can be character building, while cruel criticism or blunt honesty can be damaging to the self-confidence of others. We can all agree that there’s a world of difference between a negative remark and loving direction. It is certainly feasible to advise others against certain actions, or provide choices to avoid specific consequences, without it being demeaning or disrespectful.
If you feel that you might be about to say something detrimental, simply pause and think about what you are about to say. When in doubt, always choose kindness and be as constructive as possible with your comments. As a result, you will feel better about yourself, and most likely help someone else feel better about him or herself as well.
Additionally, be sure to have these conversations one-on-one, to avoid the embarrassment of your recipient receiving criticism in the company of others. Although you don’t want to confuse courtesy with the enabling of others by telling them what they wish to hear, it is important to treat others with the utmost respect. Take care to use your words wisely, and as a healing mechanism, and make sure that they address the behavior rather than the character of the recipient.
This applies to gossip as well. Even though it does not involve criticizing someone directly to his or her face, it is still a very damaging energy and practice for all concerned. Consider if your speaking about someone is truly in the spirit of concern, if not, then it is better to leave your words unexpressed.
On the other hand, if others should criticize you, look to see if there is any merit to what they are saying. If not, avoid taking it personally. Whether you choose to respond or not, try and develop a kind and peaceful approach in your choice of thoughts and words.
Be kind and rewind the negative statement you are about to make. Change it to something that is more constructive, and likely to be more helpful to the other person.