To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else. ~H.H. the Dalai Lama 

According to analysis is the tracing of things to their source; the separation of an intellectual or material whole into its constituent parts for individual study, and the study of such constituent parts and their interrelationships in making up a whole.

The Medieval Latin and Greek roots mean to undo, to loosen.

Criticism is the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything; censure; faultfinding; disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.

The origins can be found in the Greek meaning to judge, to decide.

 The two terms are similar in that they break something down to then review the parts. The big difference is the intention of this review. An analysis is more neutral or even positive. It is done so that a person can better understand a situation and work toward a solution. It emphasizes responding and taking responsibility.

Criticism is more negative. It can only be made somewhat more positive when the disclaimer “constructive” is placed before it. Even so, it paints a picture of unequal authority and expertise in which the person at the receiving end is at a disadvantage and is being lessened. Whereas an analysis separates a subject into its elements to puzzle together a solution, criticism pokes holes and tears apart the matter and leaves it at that. It is a statement of right and wrong.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~Anaïs Nin

When we criticize, from whose perspective are we doing so? Do we know the process that led up to the situation? Do we know the perspective that underlies it?

Upon hearing of a person’s actions, have you ever jumped to a condemning conclusion thereof, only to backpedal when new information is introduced that completes the picture and makes the action seem logical to you? This situation is illustrated in the tale in which the farmer, who find his chickens dead, shoots his faithful dog, who has blood smeared all over his muzzle, believing the dog to be the culprit. Following the trail of blood, however, he becomes full of remorse when he finds a fox, killed by his now dead dog.

Who do you tend to criticize and for what?

What is the goal of criticism? How does it make you feel to criticize? How does it make you feel to receive criticism?

If criticism imposes our ideas of right and wrong on a situation, passes judgment on a person, do we feel stronger by criticizing? Are we passing judgment on ourselves, too? When we are criticized we feel personally attacked, become defensive and want to justify our actions. Additionally, we feel estranged from the person, who criticizes. Criticism can hurt and isolate people.

Often by analyzing our own behavior honestly, we find that we have acted or would act in a similar manner as a person we have criticized. Whenever we perceive faults in others, the challenge is to become aware of our own shortcomings and work toward improvement. 

Please list a situation or action you recently criticized. 

  • Step into that person’s shoes. How could you justify this action?
  • What information could be added that would justify this action in your mind?


By analyzing we take action to understand a situation and create solutions and appropriate responses. Through analysis we loosen the grip of a situation by studying the parts and their interrelation; we break things down into manageable pieces and can thus more easily gain an overview.

Analysis empowers us to face a situation, and allows us to see what information we need to better understand it. This might include information about our own or others’ perspectives, which in turn might help to unearth an Underlying Automatic Commitment, pointing the way toward action and the steps that can be taken.

When we focus on analysis without judgment or blame, we can zero in on the issue. It gives us freedom and can be a way to build relationships with people by respecting them and better understanding their motives. In order to do this, we must be aware of our focus and intention. If we are passing judgment or attacking a person, we can be mindful of our own perspective. When we pass judgment, we also narrow our own range of motion.

If you notice that you are criticizing, what can you do?

What does this criticism bring you?


When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self. ~Confucius

Sarina Hrubesch
Take 2 Coaching