Our first goal is to recognize when we are being critical. Criticism is defined as attacking the character of a person. It involves suggesting that the problem is related to a defect in the other person's character. It often involves phrases such as "you always" or "you never." The antidote to criticism is to complain about behavior without attacking the person. We do this by practicing a gentle start-up. When we feel attacked, we take a break to calm down before bringing up the issue. When we are calm, we can think more clearly and express the problem in terms like "When you [state the problem behavior], I feel [hurt, upset, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc.]. I need..."