Daily Prompt: How are you at receiving criticism? Do you prefer that others treat you with kid gloves, or go for brutal honesty?

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A prompt like this one really forces one to be introspective and to judge, without bias, ones actions and reactions. That’s not an easy process for anyone I think. At the very least it’s not easy for me.

Kid gloves or brutal honesty? I know which one I want to say I would prefer. I want the honesty – I want the truth. How can you grow and learn if you’re merely given the sugar-coated version of things? In theory I believe honesty is the only way to go.

And then I think about my writing – particularly with my novel. Brutal honesty can be a drive killer. It can wreck any forward momentum one has gained. My muse takes the brutal honesty and twists each constructive sentence into a bullet and then shoots them directly into my ambition, leaving my soul bloodied on the road of creativity. It pulls me back and makes it that much harder to get past my fear of not being good enough.

There are times when that brutal honesty can be helpful. I found it so when I took a novel-writing class. It was the first time I’d really let anyone read my writing. It was absolutely thrilling to see people enjoying my character and my plot. They wanted to know more, the needed to read more. Yet they were also honest in saying where they were confused, what they felt was lacking, which characters were struggling to come alive on the page. It was encouraging and I was easily able to find the time to keep working, to push past my insecurities and to really grow as a writer. Now that I’m no longer in that environment I literally fear what brutal honesty would do to me.

But I don’t think I want the kid gloved treatment either. Because then I might not take it to heart, it won’t push me to be better, it will make me think what I’ve got is just fine.

It’s a thin line between brutal honesty and kid gloved. When it comes to my writing I need that brutal honesty at the same time that I shy away from it. I am thankful when I’m getting it on a consistent basis – it helps to quiet that depression/anxiety voice in my head that overflows me with lies.

So what I have I concluded? I like brutal honesty, if I’m brutally honest with myself I need it. But that doesn’t stop me from fearing it, needing it to be in the right context. And occasionally getting upset and defensive when I’m met with it. It’s my friend and the one that keeps me moving forward – it’s the fear of it that holds me back.

 

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