Night 10:30 PM and I was still in office. Most of the colleagues had left office and few were preparing to leave. I went to take a cup of coffee so that I can stay awake for the next one hour to complete the presentation for tomorrow’s meeting. While coming back from the pantry, I saw the lights were on for one of the conference rooms. I went inside to turn off the light.
As soon a I entered the conference room I found that presentation was going on the ‘presentation screen’ and I could hear people talking. I was scared to death.
I felt as if I am being pulled to one of the chairs.
More scary part was I could hear my voice. It was repeat of the team meeting that I had in the afternoon. There is nobody but I can hear all voices. For a long 5 minutes I was criticizing some of my team members for what they were not doing right, criticizing some members from other teams and how I could have done the same thing in a much better and efficient way. When I recall the moment I was in that meeting, I was feeling good about me talking or criticizing but now when I hear as a third party, I am not liking myself. The voice was rude, full of pride and disrespect for others. But the moment I came out of my thoughtfulness I was again scared. I thought that may be I am dead and that’s the reason I can hear all these. May be I am here for my judgment after death. I slowly moved my right hand fingers to pinch my left hand and it did hurt. I was relaxed that I am still alive. I immediately got up to leave the room and office at once.
But a voice came, “Dear Manager, I am ‘Arctic Conference Room’ and I am the one who wanted to talk to you for past several days but never got an opportunity. Please stay here for a moment and listen to me. I will not do any harm to you but rather help you if you list listen to me.”.
I was now so scared that I drank the entire cup of coffee at once and sweating as if working on a field during hot summer. My jaws were shaking and I was trembling. But I sat down as I didn’t dare to fight with this unknown voice. I sat down.
“I have been hearing you from past several months. I used to like you compared to other visitors. But lately I am observing a change in your behavior. You have been criticizing a lot now a days. Hence I thought of giving you a piece of advice. It may sound like preaching because, ‘I am preaching’. Be patient and listen to me. Doors are locked till I am finished so don’t even try to leave.
Criticism is fun. It make you feel nice, big and perfect for the moment. You can say anything and more you criticize, you find more reasons to criticize. You feel a new high after doing so and your ego takes a boost. It is mostly done when the subject of the criticism is not listening or if listens, can not do any harm. This also triggers when we feel empowered. Criticism how small or big it may be always boosts your ego up because your ability to criticize somebody makes you feel better than the person you are criticizing. It is the same feeling that you get when you move up in the see-saw or giant wheel. It makes you feel perfect. It is another way of glorifying your existence. It gives you same feeling as you get while taking drugs or alcohol. It makes you feel better than the rest of the world. But momentarily.
Actually it makes you feel better than yourself in your eyes.
But unfortunately it is short lived, like see-saw, giant wheel, drugs or alcohol. The only other option you have is to either forget the incident convincing yourself that ‘I dare to tell the truth, hence I don’t care’, continue criticizing because it keeps you on your high or feel guilty about it and start criticizing self.
The damage that happens due to criticism, the people who accompanied you during criticism think bad about you and may criticize your for the same, the person whom you criticized feels bad about it and loses the confidence if cares or tries hard to prove you wrong if respects you, criticizes you back if does not respect you but hardly takes it in positive mindset.
When criticism done without any intention to help the situation or person then it is called gossip. That’s more addictive and fun.
But the damege you do for yourself and others by criticizing is mostly not repairable“, Arctic paused.
I was much relaxed by now and somehow accepted the voice as somebody I am talking over phone. I questioned, “It sounds like you are praising criticism and preaching me anything”
Arctic said, “Because I don’t want to criticize. You may leave now’.
I came out of the room wit the empty coffee cup in my hand thoughtfully. Now there were nobody on the floor. I picked my bag and left for the day.
– Stray Dog