No matter how hard you work, one day, someone will call you lazy.
No matter how much you love & cherish your children, one day, someone will call you a bad parent.
No matter how much you read & study, one day, someone will call you ignorant or, misinformed.
No matter how much attention you pay to your clothes, one day, someone will call you unfashionable.
No matter how much you exercise & watch what you eat, one day, someone will dismiss you for being unattractive.
No matter how effort your put in, some day, someone will say, it’s just not enough.
Criticism can be hard to take at times. This is especially true when the critic seems unwilling (or unable) to acknowledge our efforts, or past achievements.
Sometimes, it is good to be reminded of our faults. This teaches us humility and can inspire us to strive for better in things which matter to us.
But, I wonder if, despite all our talk of self-esteem and self-worth, we don’t overdo the criticism. So many conversations, in schools, in jobs, even in families, seem focussed on the negatives, the faults, the weaknesses and the failings.
Maybe we’ve forgotten the importance of the things we should say before we say certain things?
Maybe in embracing such an informal culture, we’ve become too familiar, too quick to offer advice or criticism?
We can try to remind ourselves; not every critic really knows us well, not every critic has our best interests at heart, not every critic understands the struggles we face.
However, we can’t always reason painful words away by putting them in context. We can try to limit our exposure to some of the worst kinds of critics, those who seem to hurt for sport or glory.
But, the more we put ourselves out there, through our work and life, the more we leave ourselves open and vulnerable.
At those times the only real solace comes in truth, the truth we tell ourselves in our quietest and most solemn moments. All our effort, our sacrifice, our creativity and our art is best judged in those quiet moments when we ask ourselves “did I really do the best I can?”
The only reliable defence I’ve ever learnt against the harsh, judgemental critic is to ask myself such questions often and honestly. The true measure of my own failures is the best shield I know against the false judgements of others.