Criticism and The Kitchen Sink: A Month-Long Challenge

If you're only looking to find something wrong,
you'll find something wrong,
if it's right or not.
Depends on the lens you're looking through...
(Brand New Song
 by Andy Gullahorn)

I've learned to be content, for the most part, in one place: my kitchen. After nine years of washing and drying dishes by hand (no dishwasher), balancing your cutting board on the stovetop or across the sink (limited counter space), and having parents who gift you with extra shelving to hold your food processor, juicer and Ninja blender (very limited cabinet space), you learn to deal. You learn to use what you have. And, if you're lucky, you even learn to be content with it. 

But I can't say the same for most other areas of life. Instead, I like to point out the flaws, how things could be different, make judgmental remarks about your methods of doing such and such. Of course, I mostly do this behind your back. Often, I'm pretty good at hiding it - I only express negative remarks to my closest friends. But it's there, nonetheless, swimming around in my head, constantly judging and criticizing others' choices. 

The food wasn't flavorful.
The music is too loud.
They don't work very hard.
That rule is stupid.

Criticism: The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes (as defined by Oxford Living Dictionaries)

I'm tired of criticism. I'm tired of what it does to me and what it does to others. 

So, I'm gonna quit. 

Today begins one month of no criticism. This means withholding judgment, letting things "be," keeping my mouth shut. I've shared this with some close friends, too, who have permission to call me out if I'm verbalizing criticism. (Jeff, my husband, already called me out last night; I told him the challenge hadn't started yet.)

Throughout the month I'm going to blog about my experience, what I'm learning, pushbacks to the idea of "no criticism". Here are a few things I'll address (not including the things I haven't discovered yet, of course):
  • constructive criticism and its helpfulness.
  • injustice and broken systems (and criticizing them)
  • the why of criticism (why we do it)
  • The what of criticism (what it does to us to be so critical)

I have to thank Andy Gullahorn for writing Brand New Songwhich I quoted at the top of the post. Though this is an older album of his called Law of Gravity, and I only got it last year, this song quickly became the favorite. The song has played a big part in helping me see criticism in myself; I take this song to heart every time I hear it: if you're only looking to find something wrong, you'll find something wrong, if it's right or not. Depends on the lens you're looking through..." I'm ready to try on a different lens. 

Here we go. 

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