Can You Love Someone and Still Criticize Them?

If you are in a romantic relationship in particular, you might wonder if it is possible or acceptable to criticize your partner. Some people have a vision of their loved one as perfect – but of course, no one is perfect. Others have a long list of expectations and see their partner as the person who needs to meet them all. When they don’t, they start to show their disappointment in various ways, including criticizing the other person.

 

What Does “to Criticize” Mean?

 

To understand the damage that can be inflicted on a loving relationship, let’s first look at a definition of the word criticize. According to Merriam-Webster’s definition for learners, to criticize means:

 

  1. To express disapproval of (someone or something)
  2. To talk about the problems or faults of (someone or something)
  3. To look at and make judgments about (something)

 

We can see from all three of these definitions why criticizing your loved ones is not a good idea. No one likes to feel as though others they care about disapprove of them. They certainly don’t like to have their faults brought up. And no one ever likes to feel as though they are being judged.

 

When you criticize, the other person can easily feel as if they are falling short of the mark and disappointing you in some way. That may or may not be your intention if they have failed to live up to your expectations.

 

But here’s the thing.

 

They are YOUR expectations.

They might be spoken or unspoken expectations.

If you demand your expectations be met, or else you will withhold your love, that is not true love – it is conditional love.

 

Unconditional Love

 

Unconditional love, by contrast, says you love and accept the person no matter what. You don’t hold them up to an impossible standard of perfection. You see their flaws, and don’t consider them to be a “deal breaker” that would be worth ending the relationship over.

 

Your love isn’t just based on what that person can give you, but on what you can offer them. Your relationship is not one of suffocation through expectation, but rather, a mutually supportive environment in which both parties are able to grow and thrive in a way that allows them to be their best self and live their best life.

 

Does This Mean You Accept Everything without a Word?

 

Many people think that loving unconditionally means tolerating anything, swallowing disappointments over and over again, and suffering in silence. This is NOT the case. You CAN give feedback when it is warranted, in a particular context, and in a particular way that builds the person up, not tears them down and undermines them.

 

For example, imagine your partner is a very messy housekeeper. They drop their clothes everywhere and leave dishes in the sink for a “later” that never comes. There are several approaches you can take. One is to show them the dirty clothes hamper and explain your sorting system, white, dark, colors. You can point out how it is better to do the dishes right away than for the food to get stuck on, or even worse, attract bugs and mice.

 

You could also try positive reinforcement, such as, “Thanks so much for helping sort the laundry. It makes doing the wash so much easier every week.” In terms of the dishes, you could say, “I really appreciate you washing the dishes. You know how important it is to keep the bugs away from the kids and pets.”

 

Positive reinforcement creates an air of appreciation in the relationship, and this goodwill can help you get over the tough times, for a successful and loving relationship.

 

Can criticizing your partner lead to a more loving relationship, or is there a better way to handle issues between you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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A Blind Man’s PTSD

There are times in my life that make me feel like I have undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related to my sight loss.

 

My day begins like most others:

 

  • Shower and shave;
  • Feed and take the dog out for a potty break;
  • Get dressed for work;
  • Draft endless documents, do legal research and go to meetings;
  • Cook meals and do other chores I really don’t want to do; and
  • Start the process over again the next day.

 

On two or three periods a year, I break the repetitive times of life and do some traveling to enjoy my existence.

 

And before you ask, this is not what makes me feel like I have PTSD.

 

With a few exceptions, my life is just like any other person … except for …

 

Websites!!!

 

I get absolutely peeved (to put it nicely) when I come across a website that is not accessible with my screen reader.

 

Thinking about this has beads of perspiration forming and a slight palpitation occurring at this very moment…

 

Let me back up a little bit so you can understand where I’m coming from

 

A screen reader is software that allows a person who is blind or vision impaired to hear, through words, the same things a person with sight is able to see on the computer screen.

 

If you have an iPhone, you can get a feel for this by testing your Voiceover in the accessibility settings. Voiceover is a screen reader for Apple’s smart phone.

 

Having a screen reader allows me to do my work and play around on the computer when I get home. Overall, the technology is really great! That is unless a website isn’t coded correctly to allow the screen reader to interact seamlessly to read out what I need to get around.

 

You wouldn’t believe how many websites are not developed correctly to work with assistive technology. The number is staggering!

 

Let me give you a few examples:

 

Click Bank

 

This is a site where I can sign up as an affiliate to monetize my blog by promoting products that I’ve used and send readers to. If that blog reader makes a purchase using my link, I get a commission.

 

The Issue

 

I can fill out my name, address, email and go to the next page to complete my bank name and tax ID.

 

You have to read through the “contract” to move on to the next steps.

 

I can’t do this because the site stops working with the screen reader. I’m not a techy person so I couldn’t tell you the reason it stops working to save my life but I can definitely tell you it’s freakin’ frustrating!!

 

Why not contact support?

 

Yeah, no … that doesn’t seem to work consistently, if at all with the screen reader.

 

Amazon Associates

 

Everyone knows what Amazon is … unless you’ve been hiding under a rock deep below the ocean floor. This company has an affiliate program that has more affiliates than just about everyone else.

 

The Issue

 

Again, I can complete the first two pages of requested information but there is that little box with the squiggly letters and numbers that you have to type to prove you’re not a robot.

 

Again, no to working with a screen reader. Many websites do have the audio version of the little box so people can hear what to type. Not Amazon! Nope, no way. They ply you with a script along the lines of:

 

“Amazon is dedicated to having a website that works for all of our users, even those with disabilities…” blah blah blah lie lie lie

 

Well guess what.

 

I bet you can’t guess what I’m going to say….

 

Nope, it is still the inaccessible way they’ve been doing it.

 

Hulu

 

Again, I believe just about everyone knows what Hulu is. It’s another way for you to cut the cord from the cable providers.

 

The Issue

 

This company takes the cake because they will email you non stop and their iPhone app is totally not accessible with Voiceover. All I can do is hear the page numbers for what I’m assuming is the intro of the app. I can’t log in or even get to that screen.

 

This company is another one that will give you the fluff about caring that all people can use the platform and blah blah blah lie lie lie.

 

I also don’t want to sit at my computer to determine if the website now finally works with assistive technology. I’m not going to watch TV from the computer — EVER!

 

Conclusion

 

I get so angry because you begin by thinking the websites are accessible and you get to a certain point when you realize they’re not. This is more often times where you’ve wasted time filling out required info to realize companies don’t give a damn.

 

Of course, I’m speaking of companies that are truly making money and have no excuse for this. The small guys really don’t have any excuses that will fly either but I hold a true contempt for the big boys.

 

These companies spend so much in taking over the market share, they push others out who would probably listen to folks that want to spend money or partner with them to make money.

 

Now I’m going to take a break because I’m sure it’s 5 PM somewhere…

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You Are the Co-Blogger

“First of all, thanks for coming to the site and reading about what I’m doing. I have a favor to ask of you! Now that you are here, what would you like to know? What question would you like answered? What is causing the most pain for you right now? Go on, Ask Me Anything! Tomorrow, I will select one or two (or a few questions) and answer them for you! So, leave a comment below and ask me a question!
Thanks!”

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To My 14 Year Old Self

I was asked recently, “If you could be in this present moment, look back through the span of time and talk to yourself, what would you say to you?”

My very first thought was, “Oh how simple and unreasoned this question is!”

Then I started thinking …

And thinking some more …

As I sat and deliberated the conversation I would have with the 14 year old me, I couldn’t decide whether I would say something profound from 30,000 feet up or if I would dare to travel step by step over the questions I had as the young, inexperienced kid.

Even as I sit here typing this very line of text, my awareness is all over the place debating the pros and cons of how to talk to myself through this time warp.

I frankly am just on this side of really not caring for the person who asked me this question but it was designed to get me, and others, to think outside the box! So, I guess I’ll keep writing… I’ve prolonged this enough to wrap my head around the enquiry.

Assuming that my 14 year old self would be able to see me today, I’m pretty sure I would have to explain being blind.

“What the hell,” the 14 year old me would say.

“Oh stop it! I know you’ve never seen a blind person before but just don’t freak out about us being blind. Frankly, I’m pretty surprised that you’re not panicking more about talking to your damn self 24 years in the future, but I digress.”

At this point, the 14 year old me would roll my eyes but wouldn’t dare talk back because I was raised better than that.

The me of today would say:

“Look kid, I’m not going to give you a run down of two decades worth of ‘stuff’ but what I will tell you is that you’re going to experience heartache, joy, love, hate, fear, courage, disappointment and your expectations being met. You’re going to run the gamut of emotions from feeling like you’ve let everyone down to feeling pretty damn good about yourself.”

The 14 year old me would say, “I kind of figured that. Life is not a bed of roses. You do know you right?”

Then it’s my turn to roll our eyes so far to the back of our head I get a little dizzy and almost fall over. Shut up … I’m older now and can’t do that the same anymore … especially after a nice glass of red wine! Okay, I’m getting off track …

“Okay kid, we turn out to be a pretty good guy. You still have a smart ass mouth, although no complaints here from our perspective. Seriously, everything you thought we knew about family, the world, disability, politics, work and every single thing else is going to be turned upside down.”

At this point in the conversation, the 14 year old me is quiet with a slight look of concern on our face.

I whisper to me, “I can’t tell you that we won’t be concerned. It’s not going to be easy many times but I know something that you don’t know yet.”

“What’s that …”

“Kid, you’re going to be just fine …”

The 14 year old me has a wisp of a smile as I turn back towards today … and I have that same exact smile of knowing that things really do turn out alright …

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Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I heard about this novel on a book review list I’m on and decided to take a stab at it. I had just completed a pretty dense read and needed something to lighten my mind. This first book of three did the job, hands down!

I’m guessing through my own ignorance, I had never even imagined looking for a story with a funny take on the Asian experience. Through Kevin Kwan’s take, I found that his characters are relatable, hilarious and complicated.

Through this unassuming and gut-busting story, the author slowly lures you into the true essence of this book – this is not an Asian story but a human story. For that reason alone, I highly suggest you take some time to become acquainted with these characters. I promise you won’t be sorry you did!

View all my reviews

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Better Political Conversations – Is it Possible

“Communication is downright hard at times but at least we’re still talking to one another…”

 

Since the start of modern-day politics, which is the beginning of 24-hour news, The nation has steadily grown farther and farther apart.

 

As you will hear in the video below, the thesis is that we can eventually reverse our current state of politics if we just learn how to talk with one another.

 

Watch the video and let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

 

 

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What is Emotional Intellegence?

I’ll go ahead and admit this from the very start; I’m stressed out! For anyone that knows me, I’m a politics junkie.  I’m not necessarily drawn into the showmanship (e.g. TV) portion but the working to make things happen aspect of politics.

 

With our current President, I’m not able to take a break from the noise and my mood has been a bother…even to me. That’s not good so I’ve been doing some reading and I came across the concept of emotional intelligence.

 

Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to control and express our emotions in a healthy way, and to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others in an appropriate way. Many people focus on their IQ or Intelligence Quotient, but psychological studies have shown that there is also a thing known as an Emotional Quotient (EQ), and that those with a high EQ tend to do well in both their careers and social situations.

 

Emotional intelligence (EI) was first explored in the 1930s in the US and by the 1990s had become a mainstream concept used to help people with anger management and other issues monitor their own feelings and actions, and better grasp the effects of their emotions on other people. By also learning how to read the feelings and emotions of others, better communication could take place, and relationships improved.

 

The Four Aspects of Emotional Intelligence

 

Researchers have created a model of EI that is said to have four parts:

 

  1. Recognizing emotions
  2. Reasoning using emotions
  3. Understanding emotions
  4. Managing emotions

 

  1. Recognizing

 

The first step in understanding emotions is to recognize them, and be able to identify them accurately. This will often include tapping into one’s own inner truth to sort out anger, disappointment, embarrassment, and other emotions. These might all be expressed in the same way by a person lacking in EI, who might demonstrate anger in all of these instances.

 

It might also be a case of recognizing their own body language and the unconscious messages they are sending, and picking up on the non-verbal cues others are giving them, such as facial expression and body language. Standing too far away or too close to someone, for example, sends out certain messages they need to be able to read in themselves and others.

 

  1. Reasoning Using Emotions

 

Human beings are not robots. We make many decisions in relation to our emotions, though we might not realize it. We will often do things on the spur of the moment due to mood. However, reasoning means getting the emotions under control and using them to make logical decisions based on who the person is and the life they wish to lead. Emotions help us focus on what’s important to us and filter out what isn’t important.

 

  1. Understanding Emotions

 

We can usually identify emotions, but are not always able to interpret what they mean. For example, we can all spot anger in most cases, but need to get at the heart of why the anger has been triggered. However, not everyone who experiences anger shouts or throws things. Sometimes their reaction is a lot subtler, such as silence, sarcasm, or simply walking away.

 

Understanding emotions is also about not taking things personally. Is your boss really angry with you, or are they angry at the guy who cut him off in the parking lot?

 

  1. Managing Emotions

 

Managing emotions is an essential part of EI, with your expression of emotions appropriate to the situation and context. Shouting, screaming and throwing things might be appropriate when you are two, but not when you are an adult – and certainly not in the office in front of all your colleagues.

 

Those who are able to regulate their emotions and not get ruffled no matter how stressful things get, are seen to be a reliable person in control of their life. Those who fly off the handle at the least little thing are seen to be unreliable and out of control, and therefore someone who needs to be dealt with cautiously.

 

If you’ve been struggling, it’s time to learn more about your EI. Of course, I cannot fit everything into one single post so I will be writing more in the coming days.

 

Have you heard of EI? I would love to have a conversation so let’s get started in the comments…

 

 

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