“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle
At the end of the day, when I feel completely exhausted, oftentimes it has nothing to do with all the things I’ve done.
It’s not a consequence of juggling multiple responsibilities and projects. It’s not my body’s way of punishing me for becoming a late-life jogger after a period of cardiovascular laziness. It’s not even about getting too little sleep.
When I’m exhausted, you can be sure I’ve bent over backwards trying to win everyone’s approval. I’ve obsessed over what people think of me, I’ve assigned speculative and usually inaccurate meanings to feedback I’ve received, and I’ve lost myself in negative thoughts about criticism and its merit.
I work at minimizing this type of behavior—and I’ve had success for the most part—but admittedly it’s not easy.
I remember back in college, taking a summer acting class, when I actually made the people around me uncomfortable with my defensiveness. This one time, the teacher was giving me feedback after a scene in front of the whole class. She couldn’t get through a single sentence without me offering some type of argument.
After a couple minutes of verbal sparring, one of my peers actually said, “Stop talking. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
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