“We are men of action. Lies do not become us.”
Something about that quote from The Princess Bride that strikes a chord in me. The boldness of the critique during a moment where Westley is confronted with the truth of his current situation and the call for honesty in the moment.
I think, far too often, we overlook the critical portion of critique. We gloss it over with words, afraid to offend and afraid to express our true thoughts for fear or retaliation, or worse, rejection. It almost boils down to the thought that if you do not know whether the person is a pig or not, then just keep the pearl. It is far easier to err on the side of caution.
I have always been the sort that does not appreciate the delicate dance of critique. I am more a 2×4 in those situations. I want to tell you the truth, I want you to hear it, I want you to get it, then I want you to do something with it.
In reciprocation, I hold true to the same quality. Please, don’t pussyfoot around the words, just tell me what it is. Don’t linger the point on, evaluating whether or not I am going to be offended by the words. Just be plain and bold. I tend not to get the nuances that you think are so clever.
That being said, another caveat to the problem is that most times, what we assume is critique is truly nothing more than our own brutal opinion on someone else. It is not honest because of the bias, it is not accurate for the same reason, and you can be sure that it is judgmental and full of a personal point of view.
Critique is defined as:
n: a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory.
v: evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way:
Notice what’s missing? That’s right, personal opinion.
So, I guess the best way to cover the topic of critique is to get back to basics and remind people it’s not about their limited perspective, nor about their personal intentions, but about looking at something in an analytical way and seeing all sides of it.
Otherwise… you are just judging.
So, please, do us all a favor.
Stop it right now.