“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle
At the end of the day, when I feel completely exhausted, oftentimes it has nothing to do with all the things I’ve done.
It’s not a consequence of juggling multiple responsibilities and projects. It’s not my body’s way of punishing me for becoming a late-life jogger after a period of cardiovascular laziness. It’s not even about getting too little sleep.
When I’m exhausted, you can be sure I’ve bent over backwards trying to win everyone’s approval. I’ve obsessed over what people think of me, I’ve assigned speculative and usually inaccurate meanings to feedback I’ve received, and I’ve lost myself in negative thoughts about criticism and its merit.
I work at minimizing this type of behavior—and I’ve had success for the most part—but admittedly it’s not easy.
I realize criticism doesn’t always come gently from someone legitimately trying to help. A lot of the feedback we receive is unsolicited and doesn’t come from teachers—or maybe all of it does.
We can’t control what other people will say to us, whether they’ll approve or form opinions and share them. But we can control how we internalize it, respond to it, and learn from it, and when we release it and move on.
We are all perfectly imperfect, and other people may notice that from time to time. We may even notice in it each other.
Somehow accepting that is a huge weight off my mind.