Criticism Stress: Your Great Friend
© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Who doesn’t feel stress when they receive random criticism? The idea of criticism sounds unpleasant, but criticism can be your great friend. Recently, I offered an article on Criticism Stress as a negative experience, and how to deal with negative people who dish it out freely. These people are expressing their personal negativity without offering any possible direction for positive change.
But constructive criticism can be gold. Early in my career as a speaker and writer, a consultant offered some of us an opportunity to do a short talk that would be videotaped. I jumped at the chance. I knew my material perfectly and delivered my talk flawlessly – sort of. Because I was nervous, I had clasped my shaking hands together to hide the shaking. And the video showed a well-dressed, knowledgeable woman who had her material down so cold that she looked bored! She hardly moved. She was impassive. You might almost have thought she didn’t want to be there. But she did.
I was shocked! With such a vivid heart and with a passion for my work, I thought somehow I was being very expressive. Oh no. The video did not lie. Others’ gentle comments – and thank goodness they were gracious – reflected that I needed to be more outwardly expressive in my talks. That was career gold.
Now what about writing? Perhaps you are already having Mom and your roommate read through your pieces before you publish them. That is wonderful, but you can use more. If you are blogging, enter a blog challenge. Your commenters can be your best source of constructive criticism. On WordPress, you can see the email addresses of those who take the time to comment. You can ask them how your blog can be improved. Does it need clarity? Smaller topics covered better each time? Somewhat different topics? More colloquial language? Quotes to break up a sea of commentary? Suggestions? More paragraph breaks? An illustration or two? Such constructive criticism will be career gold.
I love this classic comment from Norman Vincent Peale:
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
So, if you are writing books, why not invite some beneficial Criticism Stress? Ask several writer friends if they would be interested in forming a critique group. Meet regularly. Read each others’ chapters, and build up a level of trust that allows you to really share what is and isn’t working in your writing.
There are many literary contests available, and many of them offer a critique option. Go for it! While you may feel stressed as you wait for the comments, they can put you on a success path. Fresh eyes on your writing can make Criticism Stress your great friend.
Trade in your fear and discomforts. Make that stress your friend, and turn it into career gold. Now that’s Upbeat Living.
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and award-winning author. She also is an ordained minister and has a natural healing practice. Among her books are: Discover The Secret Energized You and Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.