The Autobiographical Lens

On The Usefulness of Complaints

When I hear someone vociferously criticizing or complaining about “those people” — typically, co-workers, supervisors or direct reports — I often notice an element of subconscious self-criticism (aka, transference) at play.  These gripes are a veritable Rorschach test which many people unwittingly administer on themselves. If they are my clients, it makes my job of helping them that much easier, since they can reveal both their external impediments of performance (“those people”) as well as their hidden, internal impediments.

6 Lenses Between Me and You

I’m not immune to this transference effect, either: When I find myself strongly criticizing someone’s behavior, it’s usually not long before I usually realize that what bothers me most about it is that it’s something that I also do… or once did. In some cases, it’s something I did in a ‘prior life’… but in many cases, the depth of feeling behind the complaint is a hint that there’s something I’m still doing, on some level, in the present, that I’m not too keen about.

It’s not just limited to complaints, though… it can come across in deeply felt statements of admiration, praise, urging and reassurance.

Many of the posts on this blog are just thinly veiled encouragement / admonishment directed at myself..and true to the Gemini spirit, I’ve been on both sides of almost every divide that I describe in those posts.

I don’t think this is an especially profound insight… nor is it unique to me… as Donald Murray says, “All writing is autobiography.”

However, I think it’s helpful to for both the reader and the writer to be reminded of this, for time to time.

So let’s extend Donald Murray’s axiom, as follows…

All criticism  is transference,

all praise is aspiration,

and all encouragement is perseverance.


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on May 4, 2013, in Blogging, Learning, Life, Metaphors, photography, Psychology, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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