search

Compliment with you, criticize without you

Did you know that the English dictionary contains one word with secret powers? 

It’s a word that acts as an amplifier.

Add it to criticism, and the criticism will be much stronger. Add it to a compliment, and it can make someone’s day!

The word is ‘YOU.’

Try it yourself:

Suppose you are a teacher, and a student walks in late to class. Wanting to express your disapproval of this behavior, you tell him: “the class started five minutes ago!” 

Most likely, the student will understand that what he did was not okay.

Now, try repeating it with the word ‘you’ in it.

“You are late!”

Oh wow. This sounds much scarier. I guess the student will think that the teacher is angry with them.

You can do the same with a compliment and get similar results. 

Someone sent you a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, and you want to compliment them.

You can say, “the flowers were gorgeous!” I am sure they will appreciate hearing that. 

Or you can say: “the flowers you bought me were gorgeous!” This will touch their heart deeper. 

Too many people – me included! – tend to underuse the word ‘you’ when complimenting and overuse it when criticizing. 

According to Torah, we should do just the opposite! 

Our Parsha contains the laws of Sotah (unfaithful wife). While discussing these laws, the Talmud makes the following statement:

“No human commits a sin unless a spirit of folly (Shtus) enters him!”

Think about this incredible statement. No human – no buts or ifs, simply no one – is committing a sin unless a spirit of folly enters them.

When a human thinks logically, they will never commit a sin. In other words, sins are simply a result of “losing it.” 

So when we criticize people, we speak about something they did, not who they are. In fact, they behaved this way only due to foolishness. For a moment, they lost sense of their true self and acted not in their own best interest. 

But when we compliment, we talk about the good side of the people we communicate with. We speak about who they truly are.

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments