Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Accepting Criticism Gracefully

Rabbi Yaakov Salomon has a very insightful article about books that he had written( I first read it in this book).

I quote in part:

I wrote a book.

I wish I could say that it doesn't matter to me if you buy it, read it, or like it. But I'd be lying. It does matter to me. A lot.

Am I proud that I feel that way? No. Does it mean that I am insecure, vulnerable and on wobbly terrain? No. It means I am normal (at least in this area of life). All of us, to varying degrees, are concerned with the opinions that others have of us, especially when we display and disclose our feelings, skills, beliefs, activities, and idiosyncrasies to the public eye. That's how we are wired.

He goes on to discuss the roller-coaster of emotions, and quotes the Kotzker about a dichotomy which is related to this area.

I thought of this yesterday as I was speaking to two people about my previous post. The first, an acquaintance of mine who I sometimes show my writings to, was unhappy with it, as he felt that it might be understood the wrong way. I then discussed this with another person who gave me the advice to extract the valid criticism, but he also asked me why I thought it had merit to be posted. I came to the conclusion that the core of what I've written does have at least some merit, but it could have been presented and framed differently.

There is a balance here, because a person who isn't open to other's advice and opinions, will never learn anything new and beneficial. On the other hand, one needs to know where one is correct, and this balance is an art which we hopefully all can learn and practice.

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