By Sandy Gola

A lot of people are talking about cancel culture these days. I’d like to instead draw attention to “critical culture.” I was reading an extremely negative review that someone left on Yelp for a yoga studio in the area. I got to wondering what type of person leaves a scathing review for an establishment like that. There are plenty of other yoga studios to choose from, so why not just go to one of those (the review was obviously from pre-pandemic days)? 

There has been, I believe, a very strong empowerment of the value of criticism in our culture. But there hasn’t been nearly enough empowerment of the value of praise. So the culture is out of balance. 

I believe that everyone deserves praise – and looking for and finding that praiseworthy thing is on us as individuals. Criticism may be valid and it’s pretty easy to do at times. One could even say it’s a lazy way out. Finding that kernel of something to praise is often a bit harder. But it’s so worth it. Even if it’s just to manage what we are putting out there in the world. To avoid the rubber band of karma bouncing back on ourselves, we need to avoid aiming and releasing it in the first place.

When trying to understand why others are critical or negative in general, we can occasionally perceive that they are crying out from their own wounds. If we can take a moment and step back from taking an attack personally, there is much to be learned. We can look at things from a broader perspective, avoid being drawn into drama, and nip a negative cycle in the bud, rather than escalating it. 

In addition, we need to do more to focus on healing some of these wounds. Let’s look for and find ways to reach out and touch people’s hearts when they don’t even realize they are acting out of a wounded place. If we catch them off guard and disarm them with kindness, we can begin to bring some healing energy. As Leonard Cohen wrote in his song Anthem, “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” So next time we come across a crack somewhere, let’s resolve to go to our higher place and see the good. Let’s offer our kindness instead of criticism. Namasté.