The fabulous Mrs. Fatass had a thought-provoking post a while back about being defensive and at the end she said, “That one-word description – defensive – is something I work to improve all the time. What’s your one word?”
In response, I wrote: “Resistance. Hands-down. Which, I suppose, is a form of defensiveness (or vice versa).”
I’ve written quite a bit about resistance in my life and about my epiphany that acceptance, which I strive for, is actually the opposite of resistance, which seems to be my default setting.
How do I resist? Let me count the ways…
What I seem to resist the most is just being my own damn self. So thank God for that awareness, because now I can catch myself in the act. And then I remind myself of all the things I am continually learning .
If we are NOT okay with ourselves, then we live for praise from others and we are crushed by criticism. When we ARE okay with ourselves, the praise is great, but we don’t live for it, and the criticism, while it might sting, does not destroy us. We are able to move on still knowing that at our core, we are okay. ~ ?
Here’s a good example of me catching myself in a moment of not-okay-ness. One day several months ago I was looking at my Amazon.com page and noticed that my book had another review. Then I saw that it was a one-star review. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. I scrolled down and read it. Within the space of several seconds my thoughts/emotions went from:
Crushed and embarrassed. I KNEW IT! I AM A TOTAL FAILURE!
Angry and defensive! BITCH! Why doesn’t SHE write a book and put herself out there and see how it feels!
Defensive and contrite? FINE! I’ll refund her money if she hates it that much.
Realistic. Well, not everyone is going to like my book…and that’s okay. In fact, she makes some good points.
And then I was okay.
Now, if this had happened a couple of years ago, my first reaction would have been to call my husband, my sister, my best friend, and cry and vent and worry. I would have wanted them to rebut this review, to come to my defense and flame the one-star reviewer. I would have felt the need to explain and defend.
In fact, I didn’t tell anyone about it for a very long while, and when I finally did, it was to illustrate my growth, not to seek out approval. Yay me. And thank you so very much, One-Star Reviewer. Sincerely.
How do you react to criticism? Are you able to both receive it and be okay at the same time?