Give Up the Luxury of Criticism

(my take on the seventh part of 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy)

I find luxury seductive.  Any sensory experience like silk, ivory king salmon dinners (kings with rare white flesh) at a St. Paul jazz bar (I’m not always a cheap date), touring the Rockies by luxury train coach (no, not yet) – it all seduces me away from reality, the grinding crush of trying to find my way as an American woman in a calculating and consumerist culture.  But the greatest luxury (and the most seductive trap) by far is the release from responsibility.

Theater/art/writing critic, political pundit – all seductive and luxurious.  To be free from the responsibility from actually stepping up to the creative challenge and my own fear of failure.

I am not one of these people, but then again…I am.  Critic of my 5th grader’s writing, critic of my pastor’s preaching, critic of my coworker’s morals, critic of my own real and imagined failures – there is literally  no end of opportunities for criticism.  And the best part is feeling like I can indulge with no sense of responsibility.  And I live in a world with a tremendous selection of chemicals I can ingest, inhale and inject that grease the psychological skids.

This all winds up for me in one place.  Bully.  The one place I never wanted to be.  The one place I’m sure God never wanted me to be.  It’s an ugly place that sure feels like 180 degrees out from being happy and I’ve never met a bully who seemed happy.

So I give it up or try to.  Criticism just isn’t worth the price tag.  As I get better at giving it up, the happier I get.  The happier the people around me get.  I can live with that.

Love, Denise


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