Criticism and the City
This morning, emailing a friend about an acquaintance, I was more honest than kind. And my friend, on the opposite side, chose compassion. I do feel she's the better person for it, and I'm having a hard time letting go of the episode.
I've been sitting here for over an hour stewing over it.
How honest is it good to be? And how much does criticism say about the critic?
A lot, I think. What we dislike in others is often an entrenched part of our self. And I am the obsessive type that digs at embedded flaws, in myself and others.
What's the point? Why not let it go?
I'll reserve answering that while I talk about how different it is to be in the work world, after a five year absence. But maybe it's connected, this culture shock and my irritability this morning.
Just being in the sharp-edged city -- buildings blocking out the sky, crowded into other people, the noise and the dirt.
To be exposed to so many people again, after being able to choose the two or three beings you like to be with daily: it's a shock. And I feel drained today (I only am in the office three days a week).
I feel as if I spent nine hours in a psychic storm -- remember, I'm fairly clear and thin-skinned right now. I've been in school, sure -- but I didn't feel the pressures there I felt in the work environment yesterday.
Intense. People who need to make something happen, who need to get other people to help them do it. Environmental pressure of things that must be done -- it shapes you, to be exposed to that pressure for long periods of time.
I remember being harder, more brittle, much less patient when I left work five years ago -- and I see that influence seeping back in after only one day.
Jim says it's fear that calluses me in this regard. I have an autoimmune reaction -- unfounded fear that I won't succeed at what's being asked of me -- and I bring forth all sorts of defenses to address that fear.
I guess that's another of my embedded flaws. I need to work on my environmental susceptibility. I need to remember who I am, remember the core self, the me that I actually like.
And not let it be shaped as much as it had been, by negative externals.