On day 98 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I entered the uncomfortable realm of being vulnerable.
There’s 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 and create things must accept the reality that their work will be criticized (if they’re lucky enough, that is).
So, what exactly is criticism?
Simply put, it’s 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 — it’s a sign that you’ve created something meaningful. (Silence tells us nothing.) But to be critiqued, we must first release something into the world, and that requires vulnerability and courage.
Brené Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure,” and she believes there is a great deal of power in being vulnerable. In fact, she contends 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 minority, 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 enjoy hearing how my projects are experienced by others. Did it serve its purpose? Was it valuable? Did it make life better for someone?
My challenge to you is this: Make this your year to release something into the world. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. I can’t wait to see what you create!