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Free Criticism!

Free Criticism!

Don't you love it when people tell you you're making a mistake?


Lori Almost Live Archive

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Published: October 20, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 17

(17) SusanE, October 31, 2010 10:40 PM

Criticism is Something We Each should Ponder.

Wow great observations, Lori. When I was younger if someone criticized me, those were fightin' words. I lost a lot of good advice by being obstinate. Glad to have mellowed through the years, and will listen to constructive critism anytime. If you criticize friend or family, make sure it is something they can change, or something that is constructive. NO saying to them, 'I told you so'. Always be helpful in your criticism, and that your help is something that is valuable to the receiver .

(16) paula wagner, December 15, 2007 12:41 AM

I'm not sure about this:

I'm not real sure about this. Ever criticize someone? I have. Looking at it truthfully, I'm not sure I did it for the right reason. There are several reasons I criticize. One- is that what ever someone is doing irritates the hell out of me, the other-is I think I know better than they do, and the worst is that I put my self in the position of "knowing" what is right for them...i.e. "Hashem's business." Granted, there are some things that are necessary, like if someone is obese, we might say, it would be better for your health if you would lose weight, but in all honesty, I'm not real sure if we criticize rightly and for the right reasons...most of the time. As one who has been criticzed from time to time, it ususally impressed me in this way: "You haven't walked in my shoes...hold your tongue." In truth, the only one I ever really listened to was my mother. You see, she loved me, God rest her soul, and more importantly, she knew me. She, above all people in the world, uniquivocally, had my best interest at heart. Maybe that's the key of accepting criticizem, for me anyway. It's the one who says it...Do they really care about me? Do they know me? Do they actually take the time to understand my motivations? This is one of those things that make you go hmmmm.

(15) Herb Friedberg, October 26, 2007 12:33 PM


I think Lori is one of the most energetic & comes across great presenters I have ever seen. She hits at the heart of most matters without insulting anybody. She is lovely yo listen to. I always feel good when I hear her & always go away learning something I already knew but ignored & needed reminding. Is she available for speaking engagements or Shabbatons?

(14) Catherine Manna, October 25, 2007 6:38 PM

Words of Wisdom!

Once, twice, then three times?
Must be "Messages from God."
if we can impove ourselves to, "become better",{God-like} then its all good. even if its not so nice going through some of the things that we have to go through, at that time its worth a hearing of it. like you quoted from the Talmud book, if 3 people call you a donkey, time to buy a sadle. or its time to seriously pay attention to what God is trying to say to you and, make a change for the good! anyone can do it. Our Faith moves us, and God............. makes us because he loves us!!!
and I Love you Lori!
thank you!

(13) Anonymous, October 25, 2007 6:28 PM

To Gary

No Gary, it's not worse. It's infinitely better. Gossip is forbidden because of the tremendous damage it precipitates- emotional, economical, social, and more. No one has the right to talk to about you to others. The damage can be infinite, and stretch on for years, unbeknownst to you.

Gossip is conceptually forbidden, in all of it's forms (except in rare cases that will prevent serious damage to the listener- but that would not be classified as "gossip").

Critisism (or Mussar) is not conceptually forbidden- but it does have very strict guidelines. Conceptually, it's a good thing.

Pointing out someone's flaws lovingly and with compliments, to a person that one KNOWS will accept the constructive critisism in the loving spirit in which it was given, is actually a Mitzvah. Those who don't know how to give critisism (probably most of us) are not allowed to do it, because they will violate another prohibition- Ona'as Devarim- hurting another with words. But the concept of critisism itself is not prohibited- can you see that?

Now, what happens if someone critisizes you in an inappropriate, forbidden manner (as I would classify most critisisms, unfortunately)? Here is where Lori comes in:

Notice that she is not condoning the critisizer, nor is she lauding their actions. She heaps no compliments on them. She speaks only to the ONE CRITISIZED. And says, if you are critisized, take the value out of it. There is NO taking any value from gossip- it is sneakily said behind the target's back, and the target has no way of defending themself. One can destroy a person with gossip.

Critisism which is said in private can be very hurtful, uncalled for, and rudely worded. But it we shift our focus from the rude, even angry speaker, and focus on our own growth, we can take some good out of it. Now, critisism spoken in public, or in front of another, is an entirely different concept, called embarrassing another. That is not critisism, but public humiliation, a horrific sin. Lori did not refer to public humiliation.

Of course, continual, unremitting uncalled for critisism can segue into emotional abuse, and those situations would call for a different response- self protection. But most critisism is not abuse (your mother in law doesn't live with you, or work in your workplace, hopefully), but rather annoying, hurtful, demeaning, rude, and emotionally shattering. Lori is telling you: For normal, occasional critisism, don't focus on the rudeness of the speaker, focus on the possible truth in the message, so you can grow. She also didn't say you should tell your critisizer, "Thank you so much for telling it to me the way it is. Your words are a balm to my soul:)").

If we are emotionally healthy, we can cope with "gossip to our face" in a manner that elevates US, even as the speaker may be demeaning him/herself by their words. Who is wise? He who learns from every person. Even the rude busybody, whose unsolicited advice is usually inexcusable.

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