Usually I'm lazy and get the pictures for my blog from google. But the following image is legitimate, carefully clipped from my fine institution's students newspaper. I know it's kind of small, but grab your magnifying glass and just skim it. See if anything jumps out at you.
Reading the student paper is often an exercise in patience for me, but I usually persist. However, my patience has never before been tried as it was with this little gem.
My roommate happened to walk in the room as I was reading it and chose that inopportune moment to ask me how I was doing. I started into a passionate tirade, ending with "Do they even have a copy editor? Or an editor at all? What were they thinking? Was the person who write this even thinking at all?"
Jamie started laughing at me as a I kept sputtering. "Maybe you should get your verb tenses right before you start criticizing the newspaper," she said. It took me an awkward 30 seconds to catch my own error.
Why am I so terribly critical?
I hate to think it's the whole "find the flaws in others so you feel better than them" syndrome... it's so shallow, but so true, for me at least. I criticize people for trying to be cool, when I am doing the very same thing in the act of criticizing.
Also, I don't seem to have a problem criticizing things I don't value. I don't pick apart people's outfits, because I'm not a particular dresser. I don't judge people's hairstyles, because chances are they spent more time fixing their hair than I did. But when it comes to things I want to do well, like writing or speaking up front or teaching, I am uber critical.
The other day, for example, I sat in class and made a list of all the things I have learned not to do from my professor. Wow. That's about the jerkiest thing a student could do. If one of my students made a list like that about me, I would be crushed. But I even felt justified at the time. Like I was learning how to create my high standards by seeing how he fell short.
But what if I worked on my high standards by looking for what's good instead of what's wrong or lacking? I want to see goodness and light and love in the world around me. But it's like I have this caustic gland that secretes criticism, and the more it's exercised, the more acid rushes through my system, eating away at the positive hopeful parts of me.
This is not the kind of person I want to be! I don't want to have a bitter soul.
I've heard the first step to recovery is admitting your condition. Okay, check. Now...what's step 2?