I just recently finished up a Beth Moore study with two very dear friends. It was one of the best studies I’ve ever done. Close to 9 hours of lecture. My notes are a scribbled mess, but I wouldn’t trade them for all the dark chocolate in the world.
One of the first things she lectured on: criticism. How we need to accept it and learn from it.
You know I’m so horrible with criticism. A by-product of being abused is that I desire to be seen as acceptable. And I have a tough time discerning which criticism to learn from and which criticism needs a swift kick to the curb. I tend to overthink what people say about me and overimagine their intent.
We live in a weird time. Thanks to social media, people practically stand outside a writer’s window and shout their criticisms and complaints. They name-call and jump to conclusions.
I decided to read the comments on some recently rerun articles from my personal blog here at Little House. Because I wanted to see if people had gleaned anything worthwhile from my experience. I wanted to connect with their experiences.
I was shocked by the comments.
Some were amazingly supportive and uplifting. Others were sad, where people had shared their heartache. Few offered constructive criticism about my writing. I am trying to figure out how the feedback can help me become a better writer.
But several gave me that rocks in my stomach feeling. Mean things about me. Not even about my content. People calling me names. Insulting me as a person.
It wrecked me. Dave made me promise not to read any more comments, but I had to keep looking. I wanted to see the good. The moms and dads who are in the same boat. The siblings who can relate to Graham and Bess. The medical professionals who have ideas about Adelaide and her health.
I tried to ignore the junk and just see the treasure, but that’s like expecting an abused puppy not to flinch if you are practicing kicking a soccer ball next to it. I have so much hurt from the past that I’m trying to work through. I’m not sure that I can continue allowing my words to be shared on bigger platforms. I don’t think I’m ready.
It’s one thing to have someone tell you she disagrees with how often you start your sentences with the word ‘And’…a completely different animal to have strangers calling you the f-word or crazy or mocking you for writing in the first place.
I know there will always be differing views. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. But I don’t understand this everyday practice of attacking the person behind the writing.
And I have so much to learn about writing. Because, right now, I just want to make all my posts private and stop allowing others to rerun my thoughts. My gut reaction is to stop putting myself out there.
A friend recently said that a conversation can only go as deep as the most shallow person in the circle. And maybe that’s my problem. I put everything out there. And then someone who isn’t ready to participate in a deep conversation just throws up all over it.
But do I really want to be shallow? I don’t think so. There’s enough of that everywhere we turn.
The cost of being open is that I can’t protect myself. When I give up the privacy fence, I open myself up to rotten tomatoes.
I don’t actually know what to do with that. I try to remind myself that I don’t need to share anything. That I can just write all this stuff down in a journal and keep it next to my bed. But I decide against that at least a few times a week. I just feel an urge to keep sharing.
So I guess my only option is to get a thicker skin. And keep practicing how to sift the worthy criticism from the trash.
Or hire someone to read all the uplifting comments and helpful criticism, while glossing over the frenzied typo-laden shouts from people calling me a liar, fake, and attention-seeker. Any takers? I can pay you with invisible dark chocolate and smiles…