By DL Banks
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
If we had no faults we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others. I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me. Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct. I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.
An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear. Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop. The motive behind criticism often determines its validity. Those who care criticize where necessary. Those who envy criticize the moment they think that they have found a weak spot. The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.
Criticism of others is thus an oblique form of self-commendation. We think we make the picture hang straight on our wall by telling our neighbors that all his pictures are crooked. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong .But instead of spending our lives running towards our dreams, we are often running away from a fear of failure or a fear of criticism. A loved one is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.
People tend to criticize their spouse/Loved one most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need. Criticism is just someone else’s opinion. Even people who are experts in their ﬁelds are sometimes wrong. It is up to you to choose whether to believe some of it, none of it, or all of it. What you think is what counts. Be warned: A person content to sit with you and criticize others will speak critically of you out of earshot.The pleasure of criticizing takes away from us the pleasure of being moved by some very fine things. Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us. But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter. Whatever is designed against us will work for us.
We cannot have a world where everyone is a victim. “I’m this way because my father made me this way. I’m this way because my husband made me this way.” Yes, we are indeed formed by traumas that happen to us. But then you must take charge, you must take over, you are responsible. Eccentricity is not, as some would believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd. Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.
I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.