A child sits mesmerized and in total delight with a box of crayons, full of wonder and expression as she draws a landscape, a farmhouse, workers, and animals. The picture is vivid and evocative of the feelings that swirl and move in her. After completing the drawing, she takes the picture to her Mom to share in the creation of what was once inside and now made real, on paper, for all to see.
“Oh honey,” the Mom says with an aspirated groan and forced sweetness.
“Grass is not blue, you better go change that.”
What is it in us that constantly needs to find fault? What is the seed of resistance that coils our minds into reactivity and criticism?
I was walking down the street the other day while out on some errands. I walked through the downtown district of the town I was visiting and after about 30 minutes noticed that I was lost in thought. Taken into a chain of inner dialogue which consisted of random, unnecessary chatter and critical fault finding. I was finding fault with the way people drive, the way people walk, and talk, and sit. I was astonished to see that I was able to find fault in anyone for any reason. I then noticed that my face was hard with a furrow of contention, my gate was harsh and forced, and my mood was generally displeased.
I recalled a conversation I had with a friend that very morning about therapeutic practices for creating intimacy in a marriage. “Catch someone doing something right,” she said with a smile and twinkle in her eye. In the moment I was inspired and thought, “Yes! I see it.” The value of this little turn of phrase was so obvious and yet, there I was, walking down the street silently tearing a little hole in each person I saw. I laughed a little at the absurdity of catching myself behaving this way and before my mind stepped in with all the usual justification about how “they actually are doing something wrong”, I chose to enact the practice.
For each person that I saw for the rest of the walk I chose to “catch them doing something right.” After a few steps down the street I noticed that my face was soft and slightly smiling. My mood was better, and my walking had slowed and become light and gliding.
The point here is not to only look at the good and color the world rosie with our intentions. The point is that, especially when it counts, we as humans have the power to affect those around us in ways that enable them to feel seen in a true and honest light. We have the power to really contact another and create intimacy where we might, out of habit, disconnect and cause harm.
When we catch someone doing something right, we allow instead of control. We influence the goodness that is in someone to expand and grow. When we catch someone doing something right, we view them from presence and look upon them with attentive regard and admiration. When we catch someone doing something right, we quiet the sneaky and immature sides of our personalities which are always on the prowl to point out the mistakes of others.
Finding fault kills Love
By finding fault we cut love into pieces. The justification of which is invariably some perceived rightness, upheld by a narrow bandwidth of perception and preference.
Consider this: Fault implies blame. Blame cannot be actually found. Blame can be given and taken and it just cannot be found. No matter how hard you look, blame operates in a perpetual shitslide, forever rolling down the hill of life until arrested and enforced by law or capitulation or consensus, or willfully stopped by someone willing to be the bottom line. Even when there is consensus or admission, blame is either thrust upon someone or nobly taken. Yet in practical terms, it is still not found.
I have been working with these words, “Finding fault kills Love”, for the last 9 years of my life. I can attest without a doubt the very real and practical experience of these words. As I have over and over again failed in the real moments when it counts, I have come to find a little momentum in catching someone (whom I love) doing something right. The results speak for themselves and I’d bet we could all get a lot of value out of doing it even a few times a week.
Catch someone doing something right 3 times per week for 5 weeks. Write down your insights and attempt to make it a habit every week for the foreseeable future, until it is a life habit.
By: Brent Kuecker – Yogi. Musician. Educator.