The words we speak are more important than we sometimes think. Are we using them to disparage or to encourage, to tear down or build up?

I admit I oftentimes am quick to criticize other people. If someone’s actions don’t hold to my own desires and goals, I grow impatient and lash out. If someone’s words oppose my own beliefs, I accuse. If someone’s work is not to my liking, I judge.

Human nature is to be prideful and believe we are right, while others are wrong, that we can do better than everyone else. Maybe it’s jealousy and self-entitlement that drives us to be so critical. Wondering why someone else gets the prize when we are far more deserving. Or it could be bitterness as we remember all the times we were wronged, and we hurl our emotional garbage at the most convenient scapegoat.

But I’m reminded that when we succumb to the desire to criticize and disparage others because of our own brokenness, we become no better than Internet trolls hiding behind their computer screens and all the bullies and mean girls who judge other people because of their own insecurities.

Before you tell someone that their art or writing sucks, before you call someone a hurtful name because they don’t hold your opinion, before you judge someone because of the way they look or because of their social awkwardness…remember that everyone has a backstory.

We all feel like wallflowers at some point. We all can remember a time when we felt lonely and afraid and doubtful of ourselves. So don’t make someone else feel worse when they might already feel all these things.

It takes a lot for a writer or an artist to put their work on public display. And that awkward kid at the party…well, maybe he has some form of autism.

We all have different preferences and opinions. It’s true that everyone is a critic, and that’s perfectly fine…but we should remember that our words have power. So use them with kindness and respect.

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