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Criticism is easy, creating is hard.
Anyone who has ever created anything- a book, a painting, a poem – knows, first-hand, the challenges inherent in creation.
First, you have to have the idea.
You’re always looking for the one that just won’t let go.
Then, when you have the idea, you puzzle over how, exactly, it can move from the fluidity of your mind to the reality of existence.
You try out this pen, or that marker. You test paper thickness and weight and sheen. You write- and rewrite- the same words over and over.
Mingled with blood, sweat, and tears, your creation finally takes real form.
Alongside, depending on the size of your creation, and how skilled you are as a creator, you might find that things start to break down.
Such as when you are writing the last chapter of your dissertation, and your computer freezes and dies.
And then you have to start over again, because the back-up you had didn’t work. (Voice of experience.)
Or when, as happened to one of my clients, you finally start to get traction in your business, and then, unfortunately, you had a fire in your house, and are displaced to a hotel for weeks.
Or when you finally publish your first novel, and then your boyfriend or girlfriend leaves you.
I always think that we’re unleashing powerful energy into the world when we create, and it’s very often that we unleash other changes as well when we bring an idea to form.
Let’s say that we traverse all those rocky places without too much strain.
Then what happens?
Someone criticizes our creation.
Now, I don’t know of anyone, really, who takes criticism that easily. Sure, it bothers some of us more than others, but, for the most part, criticism always stings. Especially worse is the criticism that comes in the form of reviews, when you’re pretty sure that the person writing the review didn’t even really read your work- and you’re sure they definitely didn’t “get it” if they did.
I guess, over time, criticism becomes easier to bear, even though it never feels good to receive.
The thing I always remind myself about, when I receive criticism, is that criticism is easy, creating is hard.
It takes courage to turn your idea into reality. It take grit and resilience and perseverance and – most of all- it takes trust in yourself.
You have to believe you have something worthy to say or share, otherwise you won’t make the effort in the first place.
Often, in my experience, those who criticize harshly never actually create.
Because if they did, they would know the effort and energy it takes to bring an idea into form, and they would not, so easily, dismiss all that as being not valuable and not worthwhile.
As humans, we are peculiarly wired to pay attention to the one negative comment in a sea of positive ones.
And the more we risk and put ourselves out into the world, the more criticism we open ourselves up for.
It’s a strange give-and-take; for when we risk opening up to others, we have equal chances of being met and understood as we do of being criticized and judged.
Yet for the joy of being understood, we have to run the risk of being criticized.
If you must create, you must create. Then your only choice is to focus on the positives over the negatives, and do not let the criticism stop you.