I received a rejection letter this week. It was full of powerful feedback that’s sure to make me a better writer. It even left the door open for me to re-submit which is great. But it also sucked. Why is it that things that are good for you often suck rocks?
Awesome: Runners high is totally a thing if you push through…and making your chest hurt a little every day is better than it hurting a lot later.
Awful: Because, pain. Plus every minute I’m running is a minute I’m not watching House of Cards or re-runs of True Blood. (Oh Alexander Skarsgard, where have you been my whole life?)
Awesome: If you listen to the criticism it makes you better (in my case at writing). The words of wisdom build you up, brick by brick, sandwiching your need for improvement between compliments until you’re a better you thanks to the hard work of your critic. Super.
(Wouldn’t it be great if actual criticism worked like constructive? “Hey I noticed you put on a few pounds so I went on a run for you. By the way, I love your hair.”)
Awful: No matter how valuable I find constructive feedback. No matter how kindly the feedback is given, it ends up feeding my insecurity demon. The one that whispers “you suck” and “if you could do it better, you would have”. Then I spend the next few hours (or days) beating him into submission before I can take the advice of the critics and get around to being better.
Today, to defeat that demon I’m going to focus on the awesome and send out a big thank you to everyone whose been generous enough to give me feedback. You’re amazing. And…feel like dropping and giving me 20? My delts could really use the work. (You never know.)
Knowing how much it helps when people sandwich a suggestion or criticism in compliments, I often find myself following that pattern. But what if someone took that a step further and felt the need to sandwich every statement with a compliment. Want to order food? Better find something nice to say about the lady’s hair net. Need a fill at the service station? Better find a way to appreciate the smell of gasoline or the glow of overhead halogen lighting.
Would people take it well, or misunderstand? How soon before the complimentary person would be forced to abandon their coffee shop because the barista thinks she’s being stalked? Happy writing.