What I Like About You

Our world begs for criticism.  So do the folks.  There is much wrong in practically everything.  You missed a spot.  This observation proves true on all fronts.  The scientific view, the humanistic view and the theological view all lead to the same conclusion.  Thoughtful, concerned people join the picky populace in pointing out the problems.  These nosey parkers do not agree on everything and some on anything.  They come from all walks of life, racial distinctions and ethical considerations.  The consensus is not on what is wrong.  Everyone just knows that something is, and someone ought to fix it or, at least, be held accountable for landing us in this mess.  People are not mistaken in this feeling.

I must confess to being part of the uneasy conglomerate many times and on many fronts.  My temperature and voice have been raised in alarm and revolt.  Sincerity fairly dripped from my form as impassioned pleas for reform escaped my lips.  I was wrong in some of those things, but on a great many I was in the right.  The thing about criticism is that it is never far off the mark.  With calamities of varying descriptions apt to occur at any time, those who adopt a gloomy, pessimistic view on issues will be able to take credit for mentioning them in advance of hopeful strivers.  Their wisdom may indeed land them in supervisory positions with the resulting net effect being that nothing of worth is ever accomplished.

A negative approach makes few positive gains, and may contain undeniable truths.  The latter is a great reason it can be hard to escape the ruinous rut.  The iron-clad logic of the listless makes fair game of any person or pursuit.  Eventually, the pigeons come home to roost, and the objector (however well-intentioned) becomes objectionable.  Most doubting Thomases think they are doing the right thing in bothering people but, while they have their purposes, will soon find friends in short supply.  They become victims of their own crusades and will be disappointed of themselves in the end.  Probably, they are highly self-critical all along.  A different approach may be needed without pitching principles.

I know what I have done wrong.  While I understand that the masses have been guilty of denial and deviance, I believe most people intrinsically understand and feel their failures, as well.  Getting them to admit them is another thing, but the battering ram of belittlement is not always the tool for the job.  I don’t believe in coddling people, but it is appropriate to recognize the good if we are going to renounce the bad.  In my moments of self-castigation, it has been refreshing to receive words of affirmation even if they were more optimistic than realistic.  I have gained hope to try again in realizing that I’m not a total loss.  Grace gotten from God I need from others, and I need to pour water on the thirsty myself. 

People long to feel that they have done things of value.  It can be difficult to face the days of one’s life while feeling the weight of the years.  This yearning of our hearts is more easily filled if we are praised audibly.  Too often, we believe people know we appreciate them and fail to give positive strokes.  We will never run out of material for negativity, and we may have to spin situations to crank a compliment.  This being true, churn we must and hope to spur others to better efforts.  In addition, I may be better able to use my negative giftedness (both natural and valuable) in pointing out the flaws in people’s lives if I acknowledge that the loved ones are not all bad.  I’d like to know what you think of me, but I hope there’s something good.

Sterl

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