Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes…

© Wenabell

…that way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes ;-)

But of course, there’s actually a great ol’ lesson for life in this saying. It’s worth remembering that most of the time, when people in your life annoy you, they’re not doing it deliberately.

Everyone has their own issues and problems going on and there are a thousand and one reasons why someone may react badly to you for no apparent reason…

It’s a great idea to appreciate — as much as you can — where that person is coming from. You’ll find it’s very rarely about you…

If you get defensive, jump in and start criticizing, you’ll quickly descend into an ego-driven row that no-one benefits from.

Understanding where the other person is coming from, and also appreciating their current circumstances (eg. tired, stressed, malnourished) is a great way to avoid conflict…

As they say — it takes two to tango.

Maximizing your own health will massively help stop you getting drawn in to conflict.

Just being aware that other people are in a bad place and making allowances makes your own existence a lot happier. The healthier your lifestyle, the better you’ll feel and the easier you’ll find it to take a step back and see where people are coming from.

As your vitality and awareness grows, you find that not only do you react angrily less and less, you’ll notice greater feelings of empathy and concern for the other person.

Having the choice to avoid conflict is extremely empowering and will massively increase your happiness.

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Michael Kinnaird is the author of Happy Guide, the result of a 20 year exploration into what works for health and happiness.

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2 thoughts on “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes…

  1. Thanks Mikester. That’s a great tip — thinking about what’s best for the other person right now.

    Agree completely about tone, the way we say things is so important. The most damning criticism can received with enthusiasm, if it’s said right.


  2. Hi James,

    Great post. I find simply thinking about “what’s best for the other person right now” works for me most of the time. It immediately takes me out of “defend ego at all costs” mode.

    The success of this depends of which of my “buttons” are being pressed and how easy my reaction is to control.

    I heard some great advice once — “It’s not WHAT you say, it’s the WAY you say it.” which kind of ties in with this topic.

    I find when I’m thinking about what’s best for the other person, I may need to say something unpleasant for them. BUT when you do it out of “what’s best for them,” it comes out in a way that’s more loving and they can sense that too.



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