I hate to be criticized. I know nobody does, but really - I cannotdeal with even the slightest whiff of a negative comment anywhere near my neighborhood. I just get defensive. There's this hideous tightening in my chest and I get mad as a wet cat. I used to think it was because I'm such a sensitive, emotional and delicate flower. But as I age and can't help but arrive at certain realizations about myself, and I admit that it's not a product of my "sensitive artist" qualifications. It's actually more that I just want to be liked and, more importantly, admired. I want anyone who comes in contact with me to be awed by my, ummm, awesomeness, and say as much while I demurely cast my eyes down and insist that I'm no better than anyone else - just different...in a better way. Ok, I exaggerate, I don't need or even want open adoration from the world at large. Just general approval and respect are plenty. But that's not quite enough to account for the way my hackles rise (and I've just discovered that I may actually have hackles) when any derision is directed at me.Perhaps the problem is that if I listen to criticism - especially that insult-in-disguise variety that comes
dressed up as "constructive criticism" - I might actually agree with it. And if I agree, it follows that I need to fix or change whatever aspect of my heretofore unblemished existence has been identified as lacking. To sum up, there are 2 main categories of criticism. The first is criticsim I concede to be valid and sigh with the realization that I need to get to work on repairs immediately - and no matter how beneficial the resulting improvement may be, I will still seethe with disproportionate acrimony at the assignment of yet another project in my project-filled life. Then there's the criticism that I understand and may validate, but making the necessary change is just beyond me, due to either exhaustion or lack of skill. So while it may be true that I need to lose 40 pounds, or that I've failed to get my kids to ever touch a vegetable, I just don't see that I'll be making the changes necessary to desconstruct those particular criticisms. And whether I take on the project or reject it outright, I'm going to take a little bit of time to soak in the angry waters of resentment at whoever opened my eyes to the offending flaw. Bitter and immature as that may be, it's no worse than being grateful for the critical revelation and immediately getting to the neurotic work of trying to be perfect.