Avoiding Critcism

Halle Purles, Staff Writer

Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, wrote, “Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
Carnegie’s book also tells of how Abraham Lincoln handled the temptation to criticize. Lincoln grew up criticizing others and their actions. However, through many experiences, Lincoln resolved that it was better not to criticize others. Instead, he came up with ways to voice his views without causing any harm.
During the Civil War, Lincoln wrote a letter to General Meade who had just let the Southern armies slip out of their grasp. His letter conveyed how disappointed and frustrated Lincoln was with General Meade for not obeying his orders. It was straightforward and full of criticism.
Interestingly enough, General Meade never read the letter because Lincoln never actually sent it. That letter remained hidden in a box until after Lincoln passed away. Instead,Lincoln told General Meade, “The fruit seemed so ripe, so ready for plucking, that it was very hard to lose it.”
Here, Lincoln was able to explain his disappointment without criticizing his General. How different the situation would have been if Lincoln had sent that letter, but he knew enough about the effects of criticism that he decided it would be best not to.

Similar to Lincoln, we can come up with ways to overcome our frustrations or disappointments without causing pain to anyone else. Some ideas may include writing our thoughts down, going for a walk, or even screaming into a pillow if that would help.
Through the process of overcoming our frustrations and disappointments, we are able to let go of those feelings and approach situations with more control.

As Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.”