Backseat drivers, Monday morning quarterbacks and critical people all slip into the niggling habit of criticizing others. It’s easy to do. We look at our others and wonder why they do what they do. After all, we’d never do it that way. . .       Dr. David B. Hawkins

Anyone who has been married knows that one of the biggest clashes of the early years involves the melding of two cultures.  We have a tendency to think that what we think or do is the correct way to do something.  When we wake up to someone who has a different view of what’s correct (his or her way) it can be a rude awakening!

My marriage has not excaped this wondrous communication buster.  My husband’s grandmother was very rigid in her ways, one of those ‘my way or the highway’ kind of gals.  When I began to understand this, it helped me understand some of my husband’s less than stellar (in my opinion) habits.  When my husband began to understand that I was raised in a very non-structured home that centered on people not things, he began to understand some of my less stellar habits (his opinion of course).

What’s Wrong With You?

In the beginning, we fell into the judgment trap.  “What’s wrong with you?”  Why don’t you get this?”  “Why are you being so mean to me?”  The interpretation of that last statement is this:  why do you expect me to conform to your expectations?  Unfortunately, we don’t recognize the underlying causes of our pain.

One of absolutely huge issues was . . . laundry.  I am a take a day and do it all kind of gal.  My husband is always putting a load in.  I’m sometimes surprised we survived this one! What happened in the end was that Brian got to do the laundry.  This is one of the negative side-effects of being rigid in how you think things should be done – you get to do it.

Believe me, there are things I get to do for the same reasons!

It’s Not About Me!

To overcome this tendency to judge everyone else’s choices and more by our own  heritage and culture, we have to go back to communication buster 1 and recognize that “it’s not about me.”  Ultimately, there are many ways to do something. Some may work better than others, but all (or most) are still going to get the job done.

Breaking the Habit

This habit is so ingrained that it is difficult to recognize it, much less fix it.  Again self-awareness comes to the rescue.  When communication issues arise, and they will, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I judging based on the truth or based on my own biases and filter?
  • If I let the other person do things his/her way, will it get done?
  • If I DON’T let the other person do things his/her way, will the world come to an end?
  • Is this an issue that’s worth fighting over?
  • Do I want to be right, or happy?
  • Am I viewing this issue through the filter of my own upbringing or through divine moral law?
  • Have I become judgmental and critical?

S-S-S-S

When you begin to see a problem, you can begin to change.  It again involves

Self-awareness  (study your reactions and judgments)

STOP!                 (take a moment to re-evaluate and change course)

Start again with your new-found knowledge/understanding.

Stay the course over the long haul.

This habit is deeply ingrained, and won’t be overcome in a day.  But, one step at a time, you can change this thought process that leads to actions that shut down your ability to effectively communicate with others.

Share Time:

Have you done this?

Are you aware of this tendency?

What’s the funniest story you have to share about a time when this happened to you?  (or by you)

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