It’s humorous to me how often we ask for the opinions of others, but if we receive something back that differs, even slightly from our own, many of us take offense.
Case and point:
My 15 year old walked into the kitchen last night, having just spent the day in the pool with us. Her hair was a hot mess and she was getting ready to go on a date. She wears her long blonde hair wavy every once in a while, simply because she can pull off that “California Girl” look. That look still requires clean hair and a little bit of hair gel.
She looks at me with an eyebrow raised and says, “Be honest, Mom. Knowing me and how I like to present myself, does my hair look alright?”
I wanted to lie and say yes, but the look I was getting almost seemed like a door to be truthful, like she really wanted my opinion no matter what. Almost being the keyword here.
I paused and looked at her wild mess of hair and wanted to ask if she’d looked at the mirror, but I bit my tongue and contemplated lying verses telling the truth.
“For real, Mom. I’m going on a date and I need to know. Tell me.”
Now in all actuality my silence told her everything she needed to know, right?
I smiled and said, “It doesn’t look like a hair style that you’d wear outside of the house, but you’re always beautiful to me.”
She huffed and walked out, speaking over her shoulder. “You could’ve lied.”
I laughed and responded, “I did. You look like a hot mess!”
This is so us as humans though, isn’t it. Tell me your opinion, give me your thoughts and comment on my stuff, but never mind unless you agree with me.
I can honestly say that in terms of my writing – I want constructive feedback.
My goal is to create something that draws people into the moment and leaves their heart racing, or broken, or full of hope. If my novel isn’t doing that, I want to know.
The book isn’t who I am and doesn’t define me – unless I let it. However, if I can remove myself from the opinion and consider the fact that I asked for feedback and received it, then perhaps I can objectively step back and see if it’s a valid thought.
Receiving a bad review or a negative comment can be hurtful and discouraging, but I’d encourage you, like I do my kids and coach myself at times, step back and welcome the positive and negative opinions of others. Most times those opinions make us better and richer and wiser.
If not – tell them they suck too and move on. J