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Critical Condition. Monday March 21, 2016

I have lived my life in a Critical Condition.

I have criticized people's driving, others' dress sense, individual's use of grammar – you name it, if it didn't meet my expectations I would give away a piece of my mind. You can lose your mind if you keep giving others a piece of it. Being critical is most definitely a Critical Condition.

This is not to make light of a physical critical condition. I've just lost one of my dearest friends. His loss has made me reevaluate what I do with my thinking. My thinking was in a dangerous, critical state.

I would like to think of myself as 'spiritual' but not 'religious'. As such, I like spiritual teachings though not the systems that humans wrap around them. Jesus is my Hero. He says to me, "Why do you seek to take the speck of dust out of your neighbour's eye when you've got a massive plank sticking out of your own eye?" It's pretty funny when you think about it.

That's my life story. But it's just changed. You see, I can't think of anyone who's ever been 'fit' to judge me. They all have had planks protruding from their own eyes. My hero put it even more succinctly: do not judge.

The root of the word 'Criticism' comes from the idea of being able to make distinctions and separate items. It's a good word with a good intent, but it's become corrupt. We all need to make judgments to survive and to make decisions. But we don't need to judge others.

We can judge situations as potentially dangerous – I understand that. But we don't have to judge the other people involved.

So, my assertion today is, "There is no such thing as 'constructive criticism'!"

Criticism is a Critical Condition, and I would want us all to be healed from this and out of danger.

Making this distinction (a kind of criticism of criticism) has freed me.

You're OK.

And so is everyone else.

And so am I, so I won't even criticize myself.

Best Wishes

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Zareen Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 6:28am

Hi Lex, thanks as ever for your blog! I am sorry about your loss of your friend. These situations are always painful. Hope that you have a good week. All the best

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 10:51am

Hi Zareen, thank you so much for your care and compassion. I'm actually content to grieve - even if 'content' seems a strange word. The loss is really helping me focus in a new way - very much in honour of my friend. So in a very real sense, I am having a good week. I hope it will be a good week for you too. Lx

Nick Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 6:40am

Hi Lex, Thank you for your wonderful blog. Over the last couple of years Iv'e been working on,trying not to judge myself, so harshly. I feel that this is something I can control. I also feel that if I can achieve this, it will help me in stop judging others and in turn stop feeling judged. It is a work in progress and thank you again in helping me to refocus my efforts.

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:00am

Hi Nick, you've used three of my favourite words, " in progress..." Isn't that great? This means that if you or I have a setback in our good intent to be free of our critical condition, it's not critical! Thanks for taking the time to encourage me. Let's focus and conquer together!! Lx

Norman Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 2:38pm

Lex, three of my favourite words too. Another three I love: "direction of travel" I don't expect instant success but I do expect to make progress.

Eva Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 7:01am

My brother taught me to be generous with people, you never know what's going on with other folk so I keep that in mind when my internal monologue is critical and that seems to help. There will generally be a valid reason for fashion choice, action, speech, it might not match your opinions but the world would be a boring place if we were all the same.

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:07am

Hi Eva, thank you for these wise words. We really never know, do we? In fact, I've never known enough about anyone else to judge or condemn then. Let's keep the World interesting! Have a great day, Lx

Norman Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 2:39pm

Eva, There's a saying in boxing "be nice to people on the way up, because you'll meet them again on the way down..."

Eva Tue, Mar 22nd 2016 @ 7:12am

Thank you both. So sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend Lex.

Hopeful One Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 7:18am

Hi Lex - thanks for a timely blog as I think I was tending to go Critical. I have reminded myself that, whether one is Critical of others or of oneself ,the result is always over stimulation of the amgdala and a squirt of that harmful cortisol for the person one criticises, albeit well meaning, or oneself. The best policy really is @if one has nothing positive to say ,say nothing. That way the Critical Moment has no chance to take hold.

Onward with today's laugh .

A guy goes to the supermarket and notices an attractive woman waving at him. She says "hello". He's rather taken a back because he can't place where he knows her from. So he says, "Do you know me?" To which she replies, "I think you're the father of one of my kids." Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says, "My God, are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I made love to on the pool table with all my buddies watching while your partner whipped my butt with wet celery?" She looks into his eyes and says calmly, "No, I'm your son's teacher."

Helen Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 8:02am

Thanks for the smile hahahah

Mary Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 9:59am


Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:15am

OMGoodness... that is SO funny. Not sure I'll get away with that one on my show today! As for the've inspired me again... Amy G Dala, and her new perfume, "Corti Sol"... can't wait to film the advert. Lx

Norman Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 2:48pm

Hi ho! are these copyright? I'm dating a teacher and she'd love it!

Hopeful One Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 4:36pm

Hi Lex- brilliant!

Debs Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 7:48am

Morning Lex! How are you? Great blog.

Many years ago I read something in a psychology book somewhere that said something along the lines of 'what we judge or what bothers us about other people is the very thing we need to look at in ourselves'. That perspective was life changing for me and continues to be. Whenever I catch myself thinking 'oh, such and such is such a control freak' I turn back to myself and think 'oh wow, I must be a controlling person to think that'. I don't judge but I just go to work creating the possibility of letting go (or whatever the opposite is of the thing I've noticed) and the whole thing becomes an exercise in self-growth rather than criticism.

Its amazing what I've noticed since doing this - my lateness, my judgemental attitude, my sarcasm... the list goes on. One by one they have been dropped. And it continues - its a lifetime's work I think!

Have a lovely Monday, sending love to all xxx

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:36am

Wonderful Debs! This is Jung's Shadow, isn't it? What we cannot tolerate is usually the bit that we cannot see in ourselves. Thank you so much for sharing. Love reciprocated! Lx

Norman Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 2:54pm

Debs, Some time ago I tried NLP to help with depression. The concept is that one can only recognise in others what we are aware of in ourselves. Think of three qualities you admire in others (three from the same person, two plus one or three different people.) Then think about them because they will be the things you aspire to personally. I chose Rebecca Stephens (magazine editor, first woman to climb Everest and drop-dead gorgeous. Haven't achieved any of them yet...)

Debs Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 9:56pm

Love that N, I choose you and the three qualities I admire are: tenacity, courage and humour. Hmmm - you're right! It does work because those are the exact things I'm aspiring to right now. Clever stuff xx

LillyPet Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 7:54am

Morning Lex, I generally look for the best in others and not be judgemental, but I do have to check myself as I do at times notice things that seem at odds with my choices. If I see a toddler out of easy reach of the adult where there's a road, I think ( for goodness sake hold onto your kid!) and if they happen to be on their phone and not looking at the child for a good length of time, I watch, should any thing untoward happen, I turn into a full on Judge Judy! I guess there are gentle and helpful ways of not minding your own business. I pointed out to a woman in the street that her skirt was caught in her knickers and she seemed grateful but who knows, she may have been perfectly happy with it! :))) I'd recently done exactly the same and was hilariously mortified wishing someone had noticed! Sorry I digress :)
Other than children's safety, or any living beings I guess, I've always been a firm believer in " live and let live". So here's the thing. When others are judgemental or harsh, my heckles go up! That's one that I have to work on!
I find that "should" causes alot of issues. I've seen people get very worked up about how others should be, such a waste of energy, not that I'm judging of course!

Thanks for giving a focus for me today Lex, I'll be gentle with myself and others, notice maybe and let it go. Sending sunshine and peace to all. LPxx

LillyPet Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 8:13am

Ps I'm sorry to hear about your friend too Lex, I hope that you are okay. Xx

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:38am

Hi LillyPet, I could see your loving-kindness from the moment we met. Just be true to you - and I'll have you as an inspiration to me to be less critical. Lx

Helen Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 7:59am

The only thing my mother ever said to me was a criticism. Always disguising it as constructive. It's totally the opposite. Destructive. It's hard not to be the same as I was reared in this type of behaviour. I have always worked hard to be the opposite.

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:28pm

Then you and I are in 100% agreement, Helen. I really don't believe there is any 'constructive' criticism. Encouragement is much more fruitful. I wish you well and a week full of encouragement. Lx

Anonymous Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 8:02am

Hi Lex. I am so sorry your good friend has died. I should have said this before. How do you feel now about it? As for criticism, I think it helps sometimes to sound off (privately) about someone and it needn't be nasty, merely an observation, admittedly a negative subjective one. Many people criticise all the time and it makes them feel better about themselves I am told but it gets very boring for the listener. My mother in law used to do this. Oh dear. For me, I can criticise people I have never met. I have formed an opinion of what they are like in my imagination and they annoy me!!. It is not reality and once I meet them, they are (usually) not nearly so bad as I think. I may try the critical criticism you suggest and not criticise people. I wonder if I will manage! Julxx

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:44am

It's just another one of those great life choices that lead to more freedom, Jules xx

Hopeful One Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 8:58am

Hi Lex- my condolences to you for your loss of a dear friend recently.

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:45am

Thanks Hopeful One. He was supposed to be back in the UK this month, so a touchy time for us. Feeling the love though. Lx

Mary Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 10:05am

Great post Lex. Another thing Jesus said, Love your neighbour as yourself. (that's love - not hate: sometimes we're very good at hating ourselves.) So if you love your neighbour you want to help. Sometimes that can be by showing them a better way of doing things. But always gently, and always without being negative about the way they are doing things now. I find this most difficult with my youngest daughter. And yes - the things that annoy me most in her (lack of time keeping, lack of self-belief, the way she is so easily distracted) are all the faults that lie in me too. But - glad to hear you are not being critical of me, my friend - because I know there's so much to criticise!

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:46am

I have only two words I associate with you, Dear Mary: Critical Acclaim! Lx

Norman Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:06pm

Mary, Humanists say "Do unto others as thou would be done by." It is called the "Golden Rule" as it occurs in just about every religion in some form. Similarly the one great thing that rugby taught me was "don't dish it out if you can't take it."

Sheena Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:41am

Dear Lex Excellent thoughtful blog, thank you! I do agree with you but you are allowed to be easy on yourself regarding the very high standards I guess you expect yourself to live up to :) My late father (near Victorian!) who I loved and wanted to be like was a big one on "constructive criticism". I tried so extraordinarily hard to gain a little bit of praise. By my mid twenties the closest I received was "Everything always came so easily to you, Sheena". This at the time felt like a kick right in the ribs. I heard this as "Get on with it", or "There is nothing I can do to help/support you". So much I'll never know. With my own sons I've never told them what to do, have endeavoured to set wholesome examples of living, and praise when it seems deserved! x

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 11:50am

Dear Sheena, I would love to speak some positive words into your life. They really do 'bring life'. I bet you're amazing. I can certainly say a genuine, "Thank You!" for taking time to encourage me and sharing so deeply. I'm sure most of us can resonate with your experience. I just wish more people realised what a wonderful impact a few words of encouragement can have. Have a wonderfully encouraging day, Lx

Sheena Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 1:53pm

Thank you Lex - You've made me blush :) and made my day! As we'd probably agree "Every experience is an opportuity" - I think we should all thank Jon for starting this lovely site for us lovely people XX

Norman Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:01pm

Sheena, by going to Uni and getting professional/managerial jobs I went far beyond the Pale of my parent's world. There came a point where I had outgrown their capacity to help and they were never comfortable with being effectively disempowered as parents. Could there be something of this in your dad's behaviour?

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:34pm

Yes, Sheena, big shout out to Jon - he's made a phenomenal difference. Hope it was a good blush! Lx

Sheena Tue, Mar 22nd 2016 @ 6:14am

Gosh Norman I had never thought of it that way round! In retrospect I did excel, against the odds, until as an adolescent it all went pear shaped ... probably as for all the effort I was unaware that I was'alone' and lacking EQ. I think that EQ foundations are acquired through relationships and sound example. Maybe that was why it went wrong. Educationally and careerwise I am a real underachiever. This has given me different opportunities ... and it's good. Thank you Norman. S

The Gardener Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 1:13pm

My ma, ma-in-law, b-in-law, husband and one daughter have criticized me all my life - never fathomed why - perhaps because I don't defend myself, would not stop them. In despair, grand-daughter - lots planned, Mr G out of respite a day early, now strikes have cancelled everything. Very low and hopeless, and it's freezing.

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:50pm

Dearest Gardener, let's make a start with being gentle with yourself. I have nothing but encouragement for you... and not one whit of criticism. I believe I am in good company too. You have a great many admirers here on Moodscope. Lx

Norman Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:03pm


never judge anyone until you've walked a mile in their mocassins...

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:35pm

Agreed, Norman, and one of my favourite songs is this one...

Skyblue Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:07pm

Hi Lex. Our brains are always analysing, judging -- it's what they do. But your suggestion to only judge 'situations' rather than people is perfect. When I start to get ratty and critical about other people, I'm now able to realize that it's myself I'm unhappy with, for whatever reason. It's so emotionally draining to live in a 'critical condition' and so liberating to step away from it. A daily project! Loved your blog, thank you. xx

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:40pm

Thank you Skyblue, you've really encouraged me. For me, as soon as there is an emotional aspect to my judgement, I'm certain I'm contaminating my evaluation with the mind-reading my emotions are projecting! Any time I 'know' what someone else is feeling (e.g. 'they are angry with me') or thinking, I'm now convinced that I don't have enough info to correctly judge that! Best to ask questions before jumping to conclusions! Have a lovely day, Lx

Hettie Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:26pm

Lex is my hero

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 3:41pm

Dearest Hettie, I'm popping upstairs to put my underpants on over my trousers! If I'm to be your hero, I'd better dress up! Thanks for saying such a lovely thing to me - made my day! Lx

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 4:46pm

Our own Adrian Hosford was my guest on The Really Useful Show Time today, as we discussed "H" for "Happiness".
The recording (edited) can be listened to here:

Lesley Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 9:19pm

I have tried hard not to be judgmental overtly. Not ridiculing others in the way that some friends do for a laugh. However, I find myself judging them for that! I do not like it however when someone feels they have to tell me something (at work) when they have not been party to the whole situation. They offer their advice or quip without true basis. I have also spent much of my life trying to silence my "want" for material things but find I am regarded as odd by so many because of this ongoing silencing, denial. I deny the things because I don't want my life to be a measure of happiness from possessions. This is well before the age of austerity. Perhaps I should do a bit more wanting as I have constant pain and a shot of dopamine in the form of buying something does seem to jolt the pain away.
It is my ego in action when I will not buy something as if to prove I can get by without all the extras. I am terribly hard on myself and wish others could be more self-controlled as well. So there we go again - judging. I know the two things I do want - to live in a warmer climate with a partner who would like to live simply and ecologically.

Meanwhile it is time to try and increase my GABA because when I take meds to regulate this I can focus and feel calm and happy!

Lex Mon, Mar 21st 2016 @ 10:24pm

Hi Lesley, I would celebrate any desire to live simply and ecologically. Material wealth is quite possibly the biggest con on the planet. And, of course, I'm not talking about the material need for food, clothing and shelter. We need those. But do we really need a 58" 4K television? I get distressed over using too much detergent - thinking of the fish having to 'breath' this stuff, so I think I understand you in part. I do know for sure that it would be lovely if you could be more gentle with yourself first. My worst critic is the internal one, not 'those outside'. It's a journey, but one we can travel well with the help of good friends. I respect your eco stance. Lx

the room above the garage Tue, Mar 22nd 2016 @ 8:58am

Hello Lex, I'm late to the party. I'm so very sorry you have let your good friend. They are irreplaceable. But it's how it should be. I've been very wound up lately and criticism comes easily followed by shame...thank you deeply for raising the flag and I will walk in your footprints. Very timely for me. Much love ratg xxx.

the room above the garage Tue, Mar 22nd 2016 @ 8:59am

let = lost

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