Finding a Better Formulation of a value around "criticizing people"
Once, I lost track of compassion and unloaded a really harsh critique on my friend. I ended up feeling embarrassed and a bit disgusted with myself afterwards. But what does being compassionate mean for me? My first formulation might be something like this…
- "Criticize people in a way that doesn't upset them". This is clear, but doesn't show me where I should direct my awareness. (It's about a goal with other people).
- "Stay calm, and don't just say whatever comes to mind". This is decent advice. But it's about an internalized expectation, and doesn't focus my awareness on relevant choices.
- "Be compassionate". Again, it's not clear how I could approach the situation, or what potential choices should stand out. I can't design with this formulation of my value.
So I need to ask myself about what I need to notice and foreground to in order to live by this personal value. What aspects of the situation could guide my awareness in a way that is inherently worthwhile for me?
What I need to notice and foreground: That we're both human beings, and that I make mistakes all the time, and that I often don't handle things the way I would have wanted to
With this information, I can rewrite the Personal Value phrase to be awareness-guiding:
Approach other people's faults in a way that is deeply mindful of my own imperfections, and how I often fail to meet my own standards or even make good sense.
With this formulation, I can call to mind specific aspects of the situation (my own faults and shortcomings) that will help guide my awareness away from judging my friend too harshly and toward how I would feel good about relating, i.e., with this specific form of compassion.
Now I can add the source of meaning for me.
Approach other people's faults in a way that is deeply mindful of my own imperfections, and how I often fail to meet my own standards or even make good sense, interacting with a deep sense of 'we're in this together'.
And I'll finish it off with a nice name: All Faulty Critique
Check out an example that begins with context: