I clicked on the message request from a stranger and began reading. My heart sank at the assault of harsh words. I didn’t know the woman who sent the message, but she hurled accusations at me about an article I’d written, judging my heart and motives. She finished by suggesting I quit writing altogether.
The message arrived at the end of a long day. I was on deadline and exhausted, and I’d had a tense, emotional conversation with a friend only hours earlier. While the talk with my friend had ended well, discouragement rumpled my spirit. This critical letter now had me feeling defeated.
Even in cases of helpful feedback or constructive criticism, I don’t think any of us relish being told our shortcomings. I want others to help me see my blind spots, but the process is inevitably painful. Understandably, the unchecked and even unfair disapproval of others can be especially brutal. (Can’t we all just get along?) This wasn’t the first time I’ve…