when you come to the end of a project … and the voice of criticism shows up
I can look at every thing I’ve made
and hear a voice whispering
what I could have done better.
This voice comes around while I’m working on a project, yes,
but its whisper is particularly obnoxious at the end
when we are looking at the finished product.
Maybe it’s because while I’m in the midst of the project
the voice can point things out
that I can fix along the way,
so it ends up being rather helpful
so long as it doesn’t get carried away.
But then, when I come to the end,
all its whispers simply hang in the air
discouraging me, and causing me
to focus on those things
I can no longer fix.
listening to other voices alongside criticism … and finding balance
While it’s all too easy to listen to the voice of criticism,
there are other voices that try to add their two cents
as I examine my finished work.
These voices remind me of problems I overcame,
details I executed well,
and above all, moments of joy
that I experienced in the process of making.
I must choose to listen to them,
for they balance out the voice of criticism.
Is criticism right?
Does this whisper speak truth?
But it isn’t the whole truth.
Don’t throw out criticism —
he can be very helpful
if you don’t let him drown out all other voices.
Set him aside for a moment.
Let him sit down quietly
while you listen to the other voices clamoring for attention.
Gather the truth from all of them
and pull them together into a balanced whole.
Yes, there may be room for improvement,
but there are also many things you have done well.
Bring these into focus
and you will find the criticism
is not so daunting and taunting.
drawing strength from criticism … and learning how to improve
Now that you have found your balance,
shift your focus again to the voice of criticism.
Listen to what he says
and sort out what may be true in his words.
Use them as a tool of discovery.
Let criticism teach you
and help you to identify areas
where you can learn and improve.
This room for improvement
can open up a beautiful realm of possibilities
if you choose to step into it bravely.
It has been said that courage
is feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway.
I have been afraid of this voice of criticism
but I find that when I am courageous
and face that fear I feel,
I am able to push through,
trying things I may never have attempted.
Criticism may be a harsh teacher sometimes,
but if you become a good student,
he will soften.
His voice will become gentler
when he finds that he does not need to raise his voice
in order to make you listen to him.
remembering that I’ve improved before … and will continue to improve
One way to encourage the voice of criticism
to not be so harsh
is to remind him that you’ve taken his words to heart in the past.
Point out to him and yourself
those things about this project
that demonstrate your journey of improvement.
That technique that used to be so difficult,
but that you executed so well this time around.
A mistake that you caught in time to fix,
one that no one would guess you made at all because it’s invisible now.
Notice these things
and take time to smile at them.
This is evidence of who you are:
an artisan, constantly improving your craft.
Now, an artisan constantly improving her craft
will welcome the voice of criticism
and allow him to teach her.
This is evidenced by your past improvement,
so take this truth with you as you leave this project
and go to the next.
Let the positivity that you now associate with this project
inspire and comfort you with the knowledge
that you will continue to grow.
Begin something new,
and let the voice of criticism guide you to do the job well.
The process never truly ends, though a particular project might,
so never let the voice of criticism paralyze you.
Only allow the voice of criticism to speak
so long as he is pushing you to be better.
Only listen to his voice
so long as you are pushing through fear to accomplishment.
Let him do his job, but don’t let him get you down.