I used to have a friend who I considered an intelligent and highly creative writer (well, he actually is). The guy rights effortlessly well. Be it fiction or non-fiction, always making sense.
On the other hand, I was a rigid & (struggling) writer. You could call me a good writer as far as constructing meaningful and grammatical sentences was concerned. But no more. My writings usually lacked the flourish/finesse required to make an interesting read. 80% academic & 20% creative.
So each time I wrote a piece I had spent a great deal of effort on and considered quite good for publication, I sent it to him to critique. However, I observed he mostly downplays them: “No substance, lacking in this, devoid of that, bla bla bla. I can’t remember anything positive he ever said about them. And when I ask him to suggest areas of improvement, he merely makes a joke of it and ‘moves on to other matters’.
I remember writing a short story that I was so excited about. I was sure I had done a good job of the storyline, characterization, plot structure and all. I believed it was going to make an interesting read . But alas, when my good friend read it, he couldn’t see any big deal about it.
It turned out to be one of my best work of fiction.
By the way, I minored in literature so I understand what constructive criticism is and I’m all for it. It brings out the best of a writer. But what my friend kept doing was everything but constructive criticism. More like devaluation. I wasn’t looking for someone to rob my ego. Just someone who could point out
I wasn’t looking for someone to rob my ego. Just someone who could point out what I was doing wrong and how I can do it better.
Each time he makes his comment, I become displeased with what I had written and no longer felt enthusiastic about it. All of a sudden, I start to see from his point of view and begin to consider the writing as no good. His words were getting to me and sowing the wrong seeds.
But thankfully, I came to my senses before real damage was done. I realized that this friend was more of a clog in the wheel of my writing pursuit. As far as getting better with my writing was concerned, he would be of no help to me. There and then, I quit sharing my works with him.
Perhaps his manner of feedbacks was his own approach to helping me with my writing skills. Perhaps he meant well, in his own way. But in reality, with his constant dose of negative words, he was sowing seeds of discouragement in me.
Words are powerful. They dominate our lives. Be careful the kinds of words you allow to come at you because they create your realities.
Man is a product of words. What he hears, when he hears it long enough, settles in his mind, informs his thought pattern, dominates his consciousness and consequently affects his life and decision making.
Words (whether positive or negative) are like arrowheads. When shot with precision hit the target 🎯 with such a force that leaves a lasting impact.
Negative words have the capacity to….
🎯Set you on the path of discouragement & frustration
🎯Make you devalue yourself
🎯Make you lose your sense of self-worth/esteem
🎯 Cause you to be fixated on what seems to be wrong and lose sight of the wonderful things about you.
🎯 Breed inferiority complex and the need to (over) compensate.
🎯 Limit a man’s progress and make a shipwreck of his goals, dreams and aspirations.
When you have accommodated people who complain about how dark you are long enough, you’ll stop thinking black is beautiful and start considering bleaching your skin.
When you tolerate folks who consistently tells you about how your writing lack form, very soon, you’ll start thinking you are ‘not destined’ to write and quit writing entirely.
When you permit those who never fail to impress on you your supposed lack of business acumen, you end up thinking you are not cut out for business and give it up eventually.
Be wary of
❎People who are quick to point out what you do wrong but hardly talk about good things you do
❎Those who (by their words and actions) make you feel bad about things out of your control – defects and all
❎Highly opinionated folks – your opinion can never count with them
❎People who often downplay your ideas, efforts and activities
❎Cynics and pessimists – everything is wrong in their opinion
❎Bitter people – they speak from the abundance of their bitter hearts
❎Folks who peddle in stereotypes – they are hardly intelligent lot
Rather, surround yourself with
❤️Folks who can criticize you constructively
❤️Folks whose words bring out the best in you
❤️Folks who are full of words of affirmation and encouragement
But more importantly, remember this:
You are what God’s Word says you are. God’s Word should have the greatest influence on you and your life.
Give no room for negative energy. Be particular about the words that come at you!
P.S. This post was inspired by the post of a fellow blogger @theafterthought titled: “The healing Power of Words” You can check out her blog for that post and more refreshing writings.