Constructive criticism will not actually kill you. - I did not actually believe that statement for most of my life. I firmly believed that if someone pointed out I was less than perfect, I would crumble into a million emotional pieces.
For example, I recently wrote an article that my editor ended up restructuring before publishing, which basically meant she moved some paragraphs around. I apologized to her (“Sorry you had to restructure it so much!”) And she was like, “Lisa that’s my job.”
I was just bummed that not every single sentence was perfect when I filed the story. Which is obviously an unrealistic (read: dumb) expectation to have for yourself.
I’ve gotten a little better at accepting feedback over the years, but I’m currently in a creative nonfiction workshop -- which means, unsurprisingly, that my creative nonfiction gets workshopped.
This means I let people who are not professors, friends, or sisters actually read what I have written and tell me what’s wrong with it. And I signed up for this.
To all my fellow people-pleasing perfectionists out there, you can obviously see that I was setting myself up for emotional ruin, right? My value is often found in pretending that there’s nothing wrong with me, so signing up for a class where people abuse you of this notion is rough.
But you know what? It’s been great. Allow me to explain:
- People are generally nicer than you think they’ll be. Most people are not big ole meanies out to ruin your day -- and if they are, find someone else to give you feedback!
- I’m learning to separate myself from my work -- aka, a criticism of a paragraph is not a criticism of my character (#WISDOM).
- It helps me realize that writing (slash life) is a process! If I hear the feedback now, I can change things.
- People say nice things that you never would have heard if you didn’t ask for feedback!
- You do not actually die.
So that’s all the wisdom I’ve got for you today. I personally think I should get a pat on the back for writing a blog at all, because I’ve been the worst lately. (Grad school guys, I’m tellin ya.) Now please only give me great feedback about this post, or I will cry because I’m not perfect.