A few months ago, I handed over a manuscript to my editor. I’d poured myself into this particular story. A few weeks later, the editor returned the piece and while he said he felt it was my best work, he was also highly critical in his comments. Now, I’m not talking about me being overly sensitive and taking the comments personally. I’m talking about him calling me names, making accusations and assumptions and providing sloppy work. Usually I love working with this editor. I truly believe he wants the best for my work, so I decided to speak with him about the way he treated me and my work (I do pay him a substantial amount of money for his time and expertise, so I believe he should be professional). However, when I tried to talk with him, he didn’t handle it well. As a result, it has made it hard to work with his feedback and has made my progress slow.
In life, we all receive criticism from all angles and sometimes it is heavy. Sometimes it’s helpful and needed. And sometimes… well perhaps the Bambi principle should have been applied (“if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”). It’s this third category I’m writing about today.
First, we need to learn to be our own best encourager. Not everyone is going to like everything we do and people certainly have their opinions. (Yeah for freedom of speech!) But if we don’t practice building ourselves up and believing in the dreams inside of us, then the words of others will quickly tear us apart.
Second, we need to surround ourselves with people who love us and speak positive words into our lives. People who will support and encourage our dreams even when others don’t. And maybe they don’t have the same faith in our dreams, but they know enough to encourage and let us try.
Third, we always need to look for the good in what others say. Even criticism that is better left unsaid might have a possible grain of truth in it. So like an oyster, force that sucker open and find the pearl! It might be a small pearl, but it’s still a pearl.
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