Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Accepting criticism as a chance to improve

I don't blog as much as I used to for myriad reasons. One of the most important reasons is just having learned from lessons of the past, and how expressing personal feelings about events in my own life can upset people. Or invites unwelcome feedback from people who make my feelings and thoughts about them.

But tonight I'm feeling alone with few (no?) people to talk to about some of the problems in life. So rather than talk to no one, I'll talk to everyone in the anonymous internet. (Hopefully I won't be repeating mistakes of the past.) (Ha ha.) (That was deep, sad, sarcasm.)

But let's start with some disclaimers. This isn't about you. This is about me. This is not any one person, problem, or event. It's a huge conglomeration or confluence of ALL THE THINGS!

Seriously, if it wasn't so painful or hard to deal with so many things at once, I'd laugh at how so many things could be happening at once.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's jump to the lesson learned and then back it up. Or something like that.

A few weeks ago, an old friend posted a beautiful picture of her ballerina daughter getting a private lesson. (or something to that extent) She commented how her daughter said how she liked to get feedback or pointers from the teacher "because how else could she improve?" I was just floored by this statement from such a young kid.

I've never been great at taking criticism. But ever since reading her comment I've been trying to take it to heart. If I don't get feedback how will I ever improve? This young girl just amazed me at her outlook! I could learn a lot from her.

If you believe that all things happen for a reason, you'll find it easy to believe that I needed to hear and digest and internalize that idea before the last few weeks hit me.

Because, wow. I have had lots of opportunities to apply this lately!

We're talking criticism feedback coming at me from all sides. You name it, I'm getting it. Work, church, personal life, writing life, volunteer life.

Old me would have given up and hidden under a rock by now, or lashed out and given everyone a dose of their own medicine.

But I haven't. I'm learning. I'm trying so hard to just get through, accept, and take it all as a chance to improve.

But it's not easy. Especially when it doesn't let up. I feel like I'm caught under Niagara Falls, getting beat on the rocks with criticism feedback.

I need a break. I need some personal improvement time. I'm writing this all out so I can get some of my emotions out before diving back in to handle the most recent problem. Mostly, I just feel like a huge failure in nearly every possible aspect of my life right now. (Writing is actually going pretty well. More on that some other time.)

I want to be a Millennial and beg a for a safe space around me. "Please only speak kind words in this area."

Sigh. Yeesh. And sigh again.

So tell me, Oh Anonymous Internet World, when you feel beat up, criticized, overwhelmed, let down, frustrated, and disappointed, what do you do? How do you personally handle it? I'm looking for a new way to handle everything, and not be me anymore.

You can always be the kindest person in the room

Tonight my heart is broken, but not for me. When my friends and loved ones are hurting, I hurt. I am not a therapist or counselor. But through the different roles that I play and hats that I wear in my life, I see first-hand many of the problems in my community, and in the lives of my loved ones. Throughout my life people have often come to me with their problems and heart aches. And I hurt when I cannot fix each of their problems. In recent days and weeks, my heart has been overloaded with the trials and burdens of others. And as I have heard and witnessed their problems, I have repeatedly seen the same problem over and over. I want to take a minute to share what I know would heal so many broken hearts and solve so many problems. Tearing down another person will never make you a better person. Hurting them out of spite, jealousy, or resentment, will never solve your problems or make you happy. It will only make your discontent worse. There is never a reason to criticize or belittle a friend, family member, or loved one. Or for that matter, even just an acquaintance. It solves nothing, and only causes pain to both you and the other person. Be civil and show respect, even when you disagree. (Especially during a political season.) If there is someone out there that would do anything for you, ask yourself if you have made the sacrifice or effort to do anything for them. Have you gone the extra mile to show kindness or help another person? When was the last time you showed a true kindness to someone who asked for help? You don’t have to be the smartest, wittiest, prettiest, richest, fastest, strongest, coolest, or even the most interesting person in the room. But you can always be the kindest person in the room. You don’t have to be the best. You don’t have to be hurtful or critical. We’ve all heard the message by now that everyone is going through something. It’s nearly a cliché by now, and yet there is still so much truth to it. But the thought I want to leave with you tonight is simply this – are you causing the something that someone else is going through? Be kind. Put yourself aside and go the extra miles to help and serve a friend. Show love even when it’s hard to do. And never put other people down.  I know I could have shared these thoughts directly with the offending parties. And it may be possible that this was directed right at you. My thoughts are directed at more than a few specific people, but really, isn’t it a lesson we all need to remember from time to time?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Working Girl

Recently, I've been picking up work as a background extra on various projects. In the past month or so I've worked on 3 different m...

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