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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Silencing the negativity

A friend approached me about some negative comments a customer had said about her successful business. The comments had stopped her in her tracks for days. The negativity crept up and took hold of much of her energy.
Amazingly, I often seem to remember negative comments much more than positive ones. My friend with the business agreed. No matter how many customers she had, the one critic's comments nagged at her.
It's almost as if we have an inner critic that lurking in our mind. Then a person says something that adds fuel to a spark that consumes our self-esteem. Dousing that raging inner critic is often hard.
This has happened to me. In the past couple weeks, I've been working to silence an inner critic of my writing after someone made a negative--not constructive--comment about something I wrote. It didn't bother me at first. But then I gave the negativity too much room to roam in my mind--too much space and fuel--and the critic overtook many positives I'd been feeling.
Instead of giving into the critic (for too long), I gave myself a boost without tapping away on my keyboard. I called a friend. A writer/editor with an understanding of the writing process and a wicked sense of humor. After 10 minutes, she had me laughing so hard that all negative thoughts were pushed out of my mind. She didn't stroke my ego but she brought back a sense of humor and play that I needed to regain my balance and squash that flame of the inner critic.
What do you do to return balance to your writing after feeling the pinch of an inner or external critic?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and creativity coach. She would rather spend time alone with her keyboard than to roam the desolate, dusty fields of negative writing comments. Besides contributing to AOL's ParentDish, she blogs at The Write Elizabeth, delving into creativity in everyday places.


  1. I'm really my own worst critic. Usually, I feel I should have done something better and will beat myself up over it. But then, I read something I wrote and think: "Wow! Did I really write that?"

  2. Except for my blog, I don't show my work to anyone who isn't paying me for the privilege. Then I take their critique as a professional. Sometimes I agree with it, sometimes I think they're completely off the mark. I see no reason to show my work to friends or family and say "what do you think?" It's just awkward for everyone.

  3. I have struggled with dwelling on the bad side of things since I was a kid. Now my son does the same thing! For him, we try distraction and rewards if he can get back on track instead of totally falling apart. So far, those tactics have worked for both of us!

  4. I talk to The Man and he usually brings me out of it real quick. He makes me laugh like no other and teases me lovingly, just for being me.


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