The great philosopher Karl Popper espoused the concept of Conjectures and Refutations, of coming up with an idea, then criticizing it, both sides holding their own until proven false, of a back and forth process that directs us to the truth. So, criticism is important. Then, how come it’s so bothersome when directed towards us?
Each week for my non-fiction writing course, I spend my few free hours writing a piece, thinking it's pretty good, only to have it criticized by our teacher, a guy with three thousand published pieces. I realize that I have much to learn and that I’m actually paying him to give me his honest, unabashed comments. But his remarks still shake me up and make me wonder if my writing has anything to offer at all. Then, after a few days, I shrug it off, get back on the saddle and work on the next assignment. And I think of the stories of rejection I’ve read about and know that a successful writer needs to toughen up and forge ahead no matter what.
Not all criticism is true, but true criticism is valuable.