Does anyone like to be criticized? Even constructively?
I’ll admit I hate it. Even the constructive stuff.
Before you hit “comment” and start extolling the virtues of criticism, let me say that I know I’m wrong. I know it is good for me. I know I improve because of it. I know how to step back, let the ego-hit pass, and then actually use the advice or discard it.
I just hate the initial slap! of it, the same way I hate a jolt of cold water even though I love a good water fight.
Being an approval junkie involves staying a step ahead of criticism. If I volunteer enough, donate enough, am thin enough, pretty enough, organized enough, recognized enough, and generally moving fast enough I am a difficult target to hit with the stun-gun of criticism.
That twisted thinking wormed its way into my life and motivated my self-conscious, exhausting quest for perfection. It has caused me to do silly things, like change outfits over and over again because nothing less than perfect allowed me to feel comfortable and confident. It has caused me to do dangerous things, like diet my 5’8″ frame down to a bony 118 lbs. (Fret not, I’m a muscular, healthy 145 again).
It has also led me to achieve impressive goals and receive positive recognition. Maybe it’s not all bad but I have had to sort it out.
One of the most delicious gifts of my journey into sobriety has been a release from this frantic pace. Once I stopped pickling myself everyday, I had an opportunity to face that little approval monster. I was ready to slap her in the face and tell her to shut the F up, but in turned out not to be a monster at all.
Really it was a little girl version of me, frustrated and scared and wanting love. She needed a hug, not a slap. Giving her warm milk and cookies seems so much more appropriate than glass after glass of wine.