“Aren’t we rather prone to see the limitations and the weaknesses of our neighbors? Yet that is contrary to the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a class of people who find fault and criticize always in a destructive way. There is a difference in criticism. If we can criticize constructively under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, we may change beneficially and properly some of the things that are being done. But if we have the spirit of faultfinding, of pointing out the weaknesses and failings of others in a destructive manner, that never comes as the result of the companionship of the Spirit of our Heavenly Father and is always harmful.”
-Elder George Albert Smith
This really made me think. It definitely speaks to me and my spirit as of right now. There is always something I need to be working toward, and reducing my negative thoughts toward others is my thought and goal for today. I love how he describes the differences in criticism, one being under the influence of the Spirit, and another which is destructive. I always want to govern my actions and responses to ill-fated events in my life by the counsel of my Heavenly Father. Reminds me of the classic counsel, "think before you speak". Although I think in some cases we should "PRAY before we speak". Never hurts to have the Lord on our side when tackling less than pleasant circumstances!
And here's a little addendum to the above quote, by a modern educator and author:
"If criticism is mistaken or mean-spirited, rise above it. Maintain the high ground when you're under fire. No victory is worth winning at the expense of picking up the mud that has been slung at you and throwing it back."