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There is a certain level of vulnerability that comes with releasing a project into the world, especially when it’s something we’ve poured our heart and soul into.
Whether you’re a painter, a carpenter, a chef or a writer, the sum your work will ultimately be judged by others. It comes with the territory. Those who build or create things must accept the reality that their work will be criticized (if they’re lucky, that is).
So what exactly is criticism?
Simply put, criticism is a collection of observations and judgments.
When we experience the world—through art, food or ideas—we form opinions about them based on our own needs and beliefs. We decide for ourselves if something is useful, valuable, good or bad. We criticize all the time.
To me, criticism is one of the best parts of making something. It’s exhilarating when a piece of work sparks discussion and disagreement—that’s a sign that you’ve created something meaningful. (Silence tells you nothing.) But to be critiqued, we must first release something into the world—and that requires vulnerability and courage.
Brene Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure,” and she feels there is a great deal of power in being vulnerable. In fact, she believes that vulnerability is also “the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.” When we’re vulnerable, it means we’re being authentic—true to who we are. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Perhaps I’m among the few, but I look forward to feedback about my work. I know that my self-worth is not tied to any single project, but I’m excited to hear how my recent project is being experienced by others. Did it serve its purpose? Was it valuable? Did it make life better?
My challenge to you is this: Make 2016 your year to release something into the world. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. I can’t wait to see what you create!