Commentary: We all need encouragement, not criticism

Gazette/ staff photo

Gazette/ staff photo Andrew Yung

Andrew Yung, co-editor-in-chief

  There’s this amazing feeling that I, and probably all people, get from receiving compliments, from words of affirmation, from encouragement.

  It’s this sense of, not necessarily validation – though it very well could be – but warm, hearty appreciation.

  And receiving these nice, small tokens of affirmation can invoke a new, small sense of confidence.

  Granted, it is not all the time we feel this, especially when we can tell the bequeather is not genuine (which is decidedly worse than not receiving a compliment at all), but when we do stumble across these increasingly rare treasures, there is really only positivity that can spread.  

  But, oh, how quickly can insults, words of unwarranted criticism and discouragement tear all of this positivity away.

  We’ve all been in the position, no matter how secure and strong we are, where the words breathed out of another’s mouth have pained us in some sort of way.

  Why? Because no one wants to hear what people don’t like about them. Besides being just plain mean – and often for no reason at all – it is also often completely unsubstantiated and completely frivolous.

  Of course, constructive criticism has its place, but that is asked for, and I’m guessing 99.9 percent of the time, the things we say negatively about others are not warranted. Also, I’m guessing the majority of the time the things we say negatively about others happens behind their back.

  This development of criticism and gossip has risen substantially recently, I believe, because of the rise of social media and the anonymity the Internet offers. All over the web, you can find negative things about anyone and anything, as even the kindest, most stereotypical generous actions can, and almost always are, given additional negative narratives.   

  But for what purpose? Have we all as a society been so insecure that we have to find faults in every single thing a person does? Have we all resorted to pointing out everything we find wrong with someone, just because they wore the same clothes two days in a row or talk with a weird accent?

  I would argue the answer to these are all, luckily, no of course not. I still have faith in us all, still have faith in humanity and still have faith that this is only a small phase we are going through as a society, and ultimately grow out of our crippling, debilitating ways.    

  I’d challenge everyone, including myself, to think twice before saying something bad about someone. Consider why you are saying this. Is it because the other person deserves it?

  Because the answer is always no.

  Spread kindness, not negativity.