How to Take Criticism

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Multi-vitamins.Criticism is a horse pill: hard to swallow but good for you.

***

Criticism comes in two colors: green and red. The green is the larger of the two and opaque. You look at it and look at it, but you only see murky swamp water. It won’t kill you.

The red glimmers in the sunlight. It appears a ruby to your eyes, but it’s a mirage. Touch it, and the world will collapse much as the Cave of Wonders did when Abu did what he was told not to do: he touched something besides the lamp.

Note to self: do not take the red pill. It may appear pleasant to the eyes and taste like red velvet cake in the mouth, but it will turn to bitter poison.

***

Criticism is always to be taken with a grain of salt. Mary Poppins would suggest sugar. The point is to take the criticism alongside something else and to remember that criticism – of the green variety – always has your best interests at heart.

Still, don’t become so focused on the pill – the criticism – that you become fearful of it lodging in your throat or simmering in your stomach for days. Take it, with or without salt or a spoonful of sugar, and take it quickly.

***

Even if taken quickly, criticism deserves consideration. If it isn’t helping you improve, you may need a different type of criticism. If it is, still take it with a grain of salt. Criticism hurts, and you need to make it easier to swallow.

Please note that refusing criticism is not an option. You need criticism, but it has to be the right kind.

***

You can mope and complain as much as you like. What matters is that you accept the criticism and give it the respect its due.

***

Criticism is a daily multi-vitamin. Hence the instructions to take it daily.

Image: Amarand Agasi (CC BY NC SA 2.0)

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Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media and the founder of Write Right. She's a copywriter, editor, poet, and artist. You can find Erin on .

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