Daily prompt: Do unto others etc

Daily Prompt
Handle With Care
How are you at receiving criticism? Do you prefer that others treat you with kid gloves, or go for brutal honesty?

See, this is another consequence of having a good bullshit meter, as mentioned in my last post. I can smell a kid glove a mile off, and it reeks of patronage and condescension. I am not a delicate flower surrounded by eggshells, or a bomb on a hair trigger, and if I haven’t shattered under the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune yet (close though I may have come), I’m not about to do it now. Kindness is one thing. Kindness is good. Kid gloves imply a spurious regard for my delicate sensibilities, which is more about your need to make me feel useless than the true state of my sensibilities, about which you know nothing.

OK, so having got that off my chest, let’s move on to ‘brutal honesty.’ Honesty, yes. Brutal? No. Like kid gloves, brutality says more about your smug self-righteousness than about my misdemeanours. Furthermore, it also indicates your need to cut me down to the size you consider I should be, ie very small. Sorry chaps. Been there, done that. Crawling on my belly gives me a nasty rash.

No one is perfect, thank goodness. There’s enough inequality in the world without that. If I’m driving you nuts, I’d rather know before the situation reaches critical mass and blows itself to smithereens. If I ask your opinion on something I’ve written and you lie, you do me no service. But there’s really no need to be brutal about it. Constructive criticism, you know? And while annihilating me might make you feel good, I doubt it does much for your heavenly brownie points.

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8 Responses to Daily prompt: Do unto others etc

  1. I seek brutal honesty, but from people who know what they are talking about. That’s how I improve. But when I get stupid criticism from ignorant people it just makes me mad, and get defensive.

    In my experience people who are sensitive and have to be treated with kid gloves are insecure, don’t really know what they are doing, and don’t want to work to improve. There are cases where people have been at the top of their limited, closed circles, and when they venture out into the broader arena and find out they really suck it’s devastating.

    Personally, I never think I’m the best, because I know I’m not. I’ve trained and raced with the top athletes, I’ve studied and played with top musicians and dancers, I know top artists and photographers, so I know where I stand, and I always have a long, long way to go to be in league with the top professionals.

    • I completely agree. Having grown up in a university, I’ve always known that the world is full of high achievers, and ‘the best I can be’ is a far more realistic goal than ‘the best’. So I’m also happy to take criticism from those who know what they’re talking about, although I think brutal to the point of annihilating suggests a certain self-indulgence on the part of the critic.
      As for those who demand kid gloves – I suspect they’re the sort who revel in their ‘sensitivity’. Get over yourselves!

  2. I didn’t like the question at all in this prompt. Hardly seems that either option is how we would want to be treated, does it? I’m with you, Helen, tell me the truth if I ask for your opinion, but offer it up a bit kindly.

  3. The worst kind of criticism is the one that’s veiled as praise, I’ve been on the receiving end of that and it was unpleasant. If I had to choose I’d go for brutal honesty, but I don’t see why honesty needs to be qualified. Honesty is honesty.

    • Hypocrisy is like self-righteousness – nauseating to the point of teeth-grinding rage. And I agree that honesty is honesty, unless the purveyor has his/her own axe to grind and uses it as a weapon. But then it’s not honest on their part, is it.

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