Saturday, April 9, 2011


I used to think that people who criticized me were smart--the only ones who could see through me. I used to believe that listening to negative feedback would help me become a better person. I was once convinced that being told my faults would help me eliminate them.

But oh! IT IS NOT TRUE. Criticism cripples. I don't care how unenlightened it sounds. It can kill beauty and happiness outright. It is the 'bitter glass' Yeats writes of in The Two Trees.

Keeping the company of those who genuinely like me is a fountain of youth. Inspiration flows. Love burgeons. Ideas and laughter and insight abound.

Keeping the company of those who find fault with me is like a slow withering. I start to believe in my own darkness. I start to live it out. I begin to lose faith in myself.

I have been feeling this so strongly lately that I feel the need to eliminate criticism entirely. Even the 'constructive' sort. (Ha! Constructive. Seriously?) If I have nothing nice to say I will not say it. Even to my two year old.

And as for that most insidious kind, self-criticism, I'm going to yank it out by the roots. Mercilessly.

As I navigate the storms and changes that seem to pursue me like winged GPS-equipped battering rams, I also pledge this to myself: I will keep company only with those people who seem to enjoy mine. Simple as that.


  1. Ummmm....just to clarify: I am not talking about criticism of things like, say, a drug habit, or mistreatment of others, or little easily-modified behaviors. I am talking about a criticism of YOU, what makes you up, your beliefs and actions and character.

  2. Ooooh. I am so into it, of course. If it was a class, I would sign up. Praise and Acceptance 101?
    Uh, and so what Jesus would do.

    God, I love Jesus.

  3. i think there is a difference between good and bad criticism. sometimes when i get critical feedback... it forces me to grow and change and see things in a new light.
    other times, criticism shuts me down, quiets me up and stops my creative flow. for me, harnessing good criticism - the kind that makes me go AH HA! - is important.

  4. that's an interesting distinction. i think for me it is about stages: if i receive negative feedback that is true, it takes a while to get over the sting and accept that there is something that needs to change in me. but while i am making this change, i need lots of support and love. if the criticism is ongoing, it drowns out--for me at least--the drive for change. it paralyzes. i suppose i need to feel capable of that change.

  5. Never met you but I really enjoy keeping company with your blog.