Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 56 of Your Year to Wellness; Nit-Pickers

More beauty than not---see it
Are you a Nit-Picker?

My mother always gave us a laugh when someone picked lint form her clothing.
“Give that back.” She’d say. “I can’t have nothing. How do you know I wasn’t saving that?”
We’d laugh and roll on the floor hoping to get some lint for ourselves. Years later, I observed someone trying to fix my mother’s tag and I noticed that she pulled back quickly. The person moved on to someone else and my mother mumbled “Damn Nit-Picker.”

I had heard the Nit-Picker thing for years and I thought I knew what it meant but when I saw my mother’s strong reaction, I knew that the meaning had to go much deeper. I asked her what a Nit-Picker was and she looked me in the eye and said, “You should know, because you know a lot of them.”
It took a few more weeks of coaxing as it sometimes does with elders but finally, my mother revealed her definition of what she called a Nit-Picker.

Those are the folks who go around looking for the tiniest flaw with someone else because they can’t stand to look at their own.” She said. "These people love to find the person who shines brightly so they can get some of that shine for themselves."
 She looked at me from head to toe and then she fixed my collar. “You look good,” she said, “But I just made you better. That’s nit-picking.” And then she just walked away.

I gave her words a great deal of thought. I did know a lot of Nit-Pickers and they didn’t just pick at my appearance. Sometimes folks would take the opportunity to correct the smallest detail of a point I tried to make or they’d spot something wrong with the way I hold my hands when I drive.
As my sister Christine says, "People who are often criticized tend to become very critical."
I have been a Nit-Picker to my own children. We parents like to think that we are correcting and guiding but sometimes we go too far. Yes, it was done to us, but we can evolve; we must.
When I step from concerned mom into Nit-Picker, I breathe, smile and shut up.
Are you a Nit-Picker?
·         Do you look for the flaws in others in an attempt to avoid your own?

·         Do you seek perfection in others?

·         Do you miss what is good because you are only looking for what is wrong?

·         Are you jealous of others?

·         Did you immediately spot my typos?

There is far too much joy in the world for you to spend time looking for pain.
Be well, be you, be HAPPY
Bertice Berry, PhD.


  1. I was raised by a bipolar mother who was raised by a very critical military father. Every time I think I have overcome my upbringing, something comes along to remind how much work I have to do. I have been placed in the position the past few years of having my mother stay with me for periods of time for medical reasons. This has been emotionally draining...not because of the medical issues, but our relationship. I then pass on the dysfunction to my wonderful patient husband and my son. I did a great job raising my son, but he is not perfect and I feel I have to remind him of his imperfections. I just do it in a different way so I can convince myself I am not my mother. Time to look in the mirror, tell myself I am beautiful, I am smart and I am capable and stop hurting my family.

  2. Thank you for opening your heart and your life. You are so right; you are beautiful and capable. Read today's blog about love and the power struggle. We are all learning these lessons together and getting better and better day by day. The change will not happen over night, it will happen everynight.
    Much peace and Purpose.