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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Confession of a Constant Critic

I am critical. That's my confession. I can critique, scrutinize, analyze and suggest improvements for just about everything (and everyone). That can be a good skill when collared and controlled and it can be a virus when it runs rampant.
In preparation for an Ignatian Prayer Retreat, I have been re-reading "The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius" again. What I'm discovering over and over again is that the retreatant is guided to self-critique vs other (outside) critique. We are instructed to look inward and collaborate with the Holy Spirit in order to follow Christ with more abandon and joy. But that means taking a long, slow look at my own interior. Frankly, I'd rather critique your performance and behavior than look at myself.
I'm wondering today if there is a corollary between self-critique and other-critique? To the degree that I concentrate on my own following (or lack of following) of Christ, I am not so concerned about your behavior. And to the degree that I focus in on others around me allows me to avoid paying attention to my own interior condition. So the challenge I offer (me and you) for today is voice no criticism of anyone else. See what happens.

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