Have you ever taken those personality tests – like, the animal test, the color test, Meyer’s Briggs, DISC, etc? I love those tests, they give you so much insight into yourself.
While I don’t remember what my results were on many of those tests, I can already tell you that whatever result most characterizes a precise, control-freak, detail-oriented perfectionist is what I am.
I’m one of those people who wants it done right…which is usually my way! (Can anyone else relate to this? *crickets chirping* Anyone?)
Thus, that often means that I am bent toward criticism and negativity. I can focus on tasks and perfect procedures at the expense of relationships with others.
However, at the end of the day, negativity only hurts rather than helps. With constant negativity and criticism, relationships do not thrive. That’s why I am striving to remember these 4 things every day to battle the negativity in my personality:
1. Criticize less
Because I want things done perfectly, it is my natural tendency to criticize others. It’s as though I continually wear these glasses that only spot the bad.
However, I have been in workplaces before where I would receive much criticism and very little affirmation or praise, and it wore down on me. That past experience has taught me that it’s hard to stay motivated or feel significant if all you ever receive is criticism.
Though I’m still a work in progress, I have realized how important it is to build each other up. While my “criticism lenses” may never go away, I can still strive to be conscious of how much I am criticizing versus building up. There will always be situations when I will have to offer an opinion or critique, but I will try to be “hearty in approbation & lavish in my praise,” as Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence Others.
2. Be okay with things not being “your way”
Which way should the toilet paper roll go on the holder? If you said toilet paper coming toward you over the top, you’re right!
And, if you said toilet paper coming toward you from under the bottom, you’re right, too! (It still pains me a little to say that…)
I ask my husband Kevin to do some various chores around the house. He does them, but oftentimes they aren’t how I would have done them. However, the NUMBER ONE WAY to make sure no one ever helps you again is to criticize the way they did it or to go back and fix it to be how you’d like it.
In our house, we have decided that our rule is: whoever does it gets to choose how it should be done.
Being appreciative of Kevin’s hard work around the house and his willingnesss to help me is much more important than which way the toilet paper goes. Relationships matter more.
3. Say thank you
In our hurried lives, we flit from one thing to the next, going 100 miles an hour. I’ve noticed that sometimes my busyness or preoccupation with the tasks at hand cause me to forget to say a simple thank you.
For instance, I was exiting a plane not long ago. I was so preoccupied with getting my luggage and getting across the terminal out to the curb that I barely took notice when a lady near me graciously let me go first and get my bags from the overhead bin. It was only when I was darting across the airport that it dawned on me, “Did I even say thank you?”
Saying a simple thank you really goes a long way. How much would our relationships, our marriages change for the better if we just focused on using those simple “magic words” — please and thank you. I am trying to be intentional about saying thank you to Kevin and to my coworkers for all the hard work they do.
4. Remind yourself about the good things about YOU!
My critical nature doesn’t just extend to other people. I am probably more critical of myself than of anyone else.
As silly as it sounds, I have to continually remind myself of the good things that others see in me.
I have struggled a long time with thinking that I’m a huge failure, and that if others really saw the true me, they wouldn’t like me as much or think as highly of me. My gracious husband has helped me to see that that’s not true — that in fact, others see the truth while I am often blinded to my own strengths.
So whenever I start to feel very negative about myself, I stop to think about the things that people compliment me on, or the qualities they say they admire about me. I remind myself that those things are true and I should take joy in those strengths instead of focus only on my weaknesses.
I think we all need to give ourselves a little more grace and remind ourselves of the ways in which we shine.
This week, put relationships before regulations. Be uplifting instead of criticizing. And spread positivity instead of negativity. 🙂