“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” ~Dale Carnegie
Since the beginning of the ages, the wisest people, including Socrates, have been advising everyone who wants peace of mind and healthier personal relationships to refrain from criticizing a fellow human being. There’s nothing to be gained from it, only ill will. Very rare are those people with enough maturity and meekness to accept criticism. Most humans react like porcupines and even keep grudges that may last a lifetime.
If you must really hand out criticism, Steven K. Scott, author of the bestselling book Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams, suggests that you sandwich it between two praises or compliments — things that you find positive about a person. That way, you’ll be able to lessen the sting of the criticism. But, even then, this sandwich method shouldn’t be used frequently, since it will lose its effectiveness.
In this post by a woman who didn’t know how to restrain her tongue, she found herself in conflict with her in-laws for upsetting her pregnant sister-in-law due to their choices of baby names.
She’s the Original Poster who published her story on Reddit’s r/AmItheA–hole forum as u/Unlikely_Repair_8941. She wrote, “I (27f) and My SIL (34f) has 4 kids and a baby on the way. She is the definition of a ‘crunchie mom.’ Her family is vegan, with no electronics in the house, has all-natural toys and clothes for the kids, homeschooling, etc. She wanted her kids to have unique names and not basic names. All her kids have ridiculous names. Baryleen (4f) pronounced ‘Bryalin,’ Falkin (3m) pronounced falcon, Rorai (3f) pronounced ‘Rorie,’ and Kelvin (1m) pronounced ‘Calvin.'”
Well, the two met again at OP’s house, where they had a discussion about baby names. According to OP, “My SIL asked me what my opinion was on her naming her next baby Astra, Inky, or Lore. She also went on a rant about how my husband’s and my baby is going to have a basic name and not be memorable (I’m 6 months pregnant, and my husband and I plan to name our son James). I told her she was naming kids, not dogs, and her kids are going to hate their names once they get older. She got really mad and began screaming at me that I was rude and kids’ names are more than just a name. She stormed out of my house after this.”
As might be expected, her mother-in-law and brother-in-law had been calling her all day about how rude she was. They were asking her to apologize to her sister-in-law, although her husband agreed with her that it was high time for somebody to tell her SIL that she’s been giving her kids ridiculous names.
Now, OP is wondering if she’s an a–hole and should be making an apology. However, she’s also having second thoughts about it because, according to OP, she’s tired of her MIL shaming her.
Reading the entire post, there was really bound to be a conflict between OP and her in-laws. The grudges she holds against them — despising her SIL, whom she calls crunchie mom, and her descriptions of her home and kids’ names — finally came to the surface.
Yes, her SIL and MIL may be despicable people, but she ended up being on the same level with the way she allowed her tongue to lash out. If her morals are upright, she would remember the saying, “Pay evil for evil to no one.” We’ve also been warned that the “tongue is the most injurious part of the body.” We should not use it to curse our neighbors.
As for baby names, it is the legal right of the parents, regardless of what we feel about their choices. Kids with difficult names may have to endure it for some years, but they have the legal option to change names when they come of age.
Suspiciouscupcake23 has also shared some nuggets of wisdom that can help ease OP’s relationship with her in-laws and other people: “My sister picks semi-out-there names. But she’s never once asked my opinion or criticized my kids’ names. And predicting the child’s reaction is always silly. My sister and BIL pick unique names because they each had super common ones and hated it. Some people love their basic, common names. You cannot tell ahead of time. Do your best and roll with it if they want a change later, and don’t ask for input if you’re not prepared for a negative response.”Whizzco