How can we overcome the faultfinding tendency?
Transcriber: Dr Suresh Gupta
Edited by: Sharan Shetty
Question: How can we overcome fault-finding tendency?
Answer: Every tendency has a black and a white side. Sometimes, where proper standards must be maintained then noting the fault with the intention of helping is not a problem. But when there is a habitual tendency to fault-finding where a person tends to see only the fault, then such attitude reduces other person’s self-esteem. However, the glory of bhakti is that everything can be used in devotional service. That is why, as interesting as it may sound, if at all there is some strong fault-finding tendency, we could use the same to find faults with the fault-finding tendencies!
Everybody has faults. Once during a workshop with devotees, I was talking about tolerance. We discussed that although being in spiritual life, we have to tolerate many things. A devotee replied that among the things that we have to tolerate, devotees are one of them. Indeed, we have to tolerate each other as all of us have defects. But we realise that just as we are tolerating devotees, they are also tolerating us. Thus, all of us have faults and different people have different faults. We should ask ourselves – how would I feel if somebody keeps finding faults within me?
The most important thing that is required for anyone to persevere on spiritual path is encouragement, appreciation, kind words. If we continuously find faults, then we dishearten people. Sometimes a person may already be burdened by many things in their lives and in that state if someone finds faults in them, they will find it unbearable. However, if at all we have to find faults to correct someone so that they follow a particular standard, then we have to do it in a very sensitive way.
One of the best parameters for understanding whether we have the adhikar or the authority to find fault, is to check our own reactions to it. If we get joy in finding faults, then it means we are not purely motivated. We may pretend to speak politely but something in our tone will reveal to the other person that we find joy in finding faults. Even a subconscious glee on the face signalling you caught the other person makes them feel alienated. The purpose behind fault fining should always be to help the other person.
Another tendency is where, as soon as we notice the faults, we immediately point it out. We should understand that sometimes it may not be the right time to speak it. In general, before evaluating someone’s deficient behaviour, we need to validate them first. With sincere intention and friendly approach, we make them feel that this not a rejection or a judgement. A relationship where there is trust that the other person is my well-wisher then even if they feel evaluated at some other aspect, they will not feel too bad about it. In general, in our interactions, appreciation should be more than criticism.
Some people may have a lot of appreciation for the other person in their heart, but they do not express it and only speak when they need to point out other person’s mistakes. Such a relationship becomes very strained. Thus, we need to appreciate genuinely because when the other person feels validated, they take our criticism constructively.
End of transcription.