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.