How to Blossom When You’re Holding a Snake

Last week, I shared how to blossom when you’re criticized – and a reader emailed me some sage advice…

blessings blossoms snakes
Larry the Snake and Laurie the Writer

“I would like to add the importance of assessing the source of the criticism,” says M. “and not take it too personally, especially if you acted with good intentions.”

She adds that as a psychotherapist, she’s learned how to distinguish between reactive versus constructive criticism, and not take reactive comments personally.

Reactive criticism (eg, calling someone inconsiderate) is like a snake: sneaky, poisonous, judgmental. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, includes negative feedback – but its intention is to share information and facilitate growth.

Instead of getting emotional or defensive when you’re criticized, take a step back. Is it a critical snake, or possibly helpful feedback? You might even look at the situation from the other person’s perspective.

“All behavior makes sense from the actor’s perspective, or the actor wouldn’t do it,” writes Ellen Langer in On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity.

If I had taken a step back last week when I was criticized, I would have realized that my critic was genuinely ignorant about how freelance writers work. I would’ve seen that her criticism made sense to her — even if it made no sense to me.

And, I would’ve separated my feelings about being called inconsiderate from the realization that I really did fail to explain my research and writing process clearly.

O the sting of learning what I could’ve done better!

May you blossom when you encounter criticism. May you see straight to the heart of the matter, and may you grow bigger, stronger, and ever more beautiful.



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