Under the Microscope
At some point in your life, you may have been relationally involved with a faultfinder. They criticize, nitpick, and complain about you, confident that will make you into a better person. They seem to always condemn your ideas, disapprove of your actions, and dislike your way of doing things. They thrive on your mistakes and seem to be empowered by pointing out your errors. Typically, the faultfinder does not notice or mention any correct responses or positive performances. Before I get too carried away by pointing out the faults of faultfinders, let me explain the rationale. Typically, faultfinders are right in principle and often can identify problems. They might see a better way to approach something in the future, have ideas on saving money, or insight into reducing labor. However, it’s the constant drip of negativity-the out of balance nature of the feedback, that cripples your self-esteem.
The Effects of Faultfinding
Most people have some tolerance for criticism. Again, it’s when it becomes one-side that it is the most destructive. Criticism and faultfinding often bring shame, self-doubt, and constant feelings of inadequacy. It can lead some people to try harder to please others and gain approval. This strategy frequently turns into a dead end of perfectionistic over-performing as an attempt to be accepted. On the other hand, some people become passive, deferring, and helpless. “My attempts will not be enough-Why even try?”
A Service You Supply for Yourself
After a steady diet of having their mistakes served cold on a plate of disappointment, many people start to internalize the faultfinding process. Even though they hated it when others did it, this has become a service they now supply for themselves. They feel inadequate and inferior and are self-loathing when they make errors. Their self-scolding is a backhanded attempt to improve performance.
The defeat of this painful practice is found in the replacement of it. Rather than zeroing in on mistakes, you must become adept at recognizing improvements and progress. Also, it will be extremely helpful if you redefine success. Real success is not defined by your status, wealth, accolades, positions, or awards. Look less at your performance and the approval of others, and more at admirable qualities of character. Track your acts of kindness and generosity. Recall times of respect and service toward others. Focus on lifting others up, rather than climbing over them. Your value is in your connection to others and your contribution to their success. Disregard the faultfinding voice of others, rewrite the script of self-criticism, and become a master at recognizing personal growth.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!