Father S.O.S

United and at odds

We are all ordinary people, and we are not lacking in flaws. Moreover, there are also many perspectives within the right thing to do. Differences are obvious, and sometimes also "reprehensible" behaviors. How can we approach them, to help and assist each other?

Carlos Chiclana-April 7, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes

On many occasions you will appreciate issues of people, of the Church or of the institution itself, that do not seem right to you. Emotions arise without choosing them: anger, grief, fear, rebellion or the desire to flee, which warn that something is not right. At such moments, distorted thoughts or cognitive errors can skew our ability to grasp reality and lead us to black and white, to label people or to personalize.

Having a critical sense is necessary, it will help yourself, others and institutions to grow. To make it easier for it to be healthy and not turn into condemnatory judgment or trash talk, I suggest that you pass it through ten filters before it comes out of you.

1. Supernatural. If you are in the Church, you need this framework; if not, almost nothing makes sense and it is all madness, the regular thing already started with some traitors, a suicide and an exprostitute. I suggest three layers: first, the cross to understand the suffering / discomfort / limitations / sin of that person or situation; then, the Eucharist, to make sacred and fraternal love that intervention you intend; thirdly, the Resurrection to approach it with the intention of bringing people, situations and institution to fullness, joy and happiness. Your psychology will thank you enormously.

2. Family. Read between the lines, observe and describe with the eyes of a mother, father, son/daughter, very close friend, who wants to love and absolve. This way you will better understand why there is love in that look, the apology that does not justify and that attenuates the hardness of the vision, contemplation to look for the good, the improvement and not the condemnation; it will give you balance in the limbic system.

3. Acknowledgment. Unless in extreme cases, it is likely that these people are seeking a good, with greater or lesser success, and that they have bothered to think, pray, write, share, contrast, correct, etc., to try to achieve it. Make an internal act of gratitude towards them, and thus separate the acts from the intentions, what has happened from how it has made you feel. It is also likely that on other occasions they have done well, even if they are doing badly now. It will regulate emotions.

4. Perspective. To see it with balance, distance, knowledge of where you come from and where you are going, what are the circumstances, in what work, pastoral, cultural or social environment are those people or those decisions have been taken. You will probably see a kaleidoscopic, multidimensional reality that has more than one explanation. Give yourself a little time, wait before speaking, let your emotions rest.

5. Detailed analysis. You can write everything that comes to your mind, let it all come out in gushes, without thinking. Let it sit in a drawer to reread it later more calmly and temperately and extract what makes sense, choose what is interesting, nuance the arguments and go in favor of people.

6. Personnel. The same judgment you make, apply it to yourself, draw conclusions to improve just that, evaluate if you ever behaved the same way and why, if you can understand it. In this way you will already be getting at least one benefit from that critical sense. And it will help you understand why it could have happened, just as it happened to you. This does not justify or exculpate, but it will improve the way you make criticism and proposals.

7. Communication. To communicate effectively and efficiently with the person who will receive the criticism, proposal or new idea, consider who he/she is, what "language" he/she speaks, what state he/she is in, what concerns he/she has, how he/she can understand you better, by what means: direct or indirect, spoken or written. Look for the place of union and connection where that person or institution can receive what you want to say.

8. Detection of wrongdoing. Look for what is really wrong or harmful: the facts themselves, the content, the forms, the way, the format, the vocabulary, the lack of training, the shortcomings or defects of a particular person? This way you avoid making a blanket amendment, getting rid of people in one fell swoop or missing out on the good in that situation.

9. Sincere friend. Share all your discomfort and criticism with someone who loves you and who can listen to everything without being shocked because they know you are just "airing" the room. In addition to welcoming and accompanying you, ask him/her to correct your point of view, clarify and smooth out the rough edges of your judgment.

10. Novelty. Could it have been done differently? Do you have a proposal? New ideas to do it better? A good critical sense brings improvement and progress, with optimism, in a positive sense and opens avenues for growth and development. I suggest that you write it, let it sit and correct it later to give it this tone.

It is likely that after passing these filters you will be better and in the mood to stay together, even if you disagree.

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