I just listened to a great podcast on Dear Sugar radio with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond about how to survive the critics. The full episode is available here:
I really appreciated the knowledge that after a while, the hurt feelings subside, and you kind of go back to feeling normal. After my challenging week in a debate with an editor, I am finding relief and getting back to a good place. I feel lighter inside, and I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that I’ve started spring cleaning. I’m on day three and feeling light of heart.
I’m starting to contemplate the idea that criticism is kind of like accepting a bag of used clothing. At one level, all of the items reflect someone’s past choices. In the entire bag, there may be one piece you really love, making it sort of worth the effort to accept and live with the rest, or make the effort to pass. But in order to go forward independently and with your own beautiful mind, you must at some point stop accepting the entire bag and say to yourself “I can clothe my own bones.”
I’ve always had trouble being a “pleaser”. So this is a challenge for me not to accept everything.
This idea is also helpful because I’m participating in critiquing other’s work too. It reminds me to give away more good items and fold away what is unusable, to discard what isn’t helpful. Namely, judgement about the person who has worked to write their piece.