Quote of the Day:  Kind words heal and help, cutting words wound and maim. Proverbs 15:4 (The Message)
And, in another version (ESV) A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Words are powerful. We writers know that. We agonize over the choice of a word or how to turn a phrase. Non-writers know it, too, which is why so many writers are criticized and banned, and sometimes even silenced. If we live in a world of criticism, if those who are closest to us use us as verbal punching bags, our self-worth diminishes. We can’t be confident even in the areas where our gifts are the strongest.

While I was at the Women’s Retreat at Mount Carmel this fall, Barb, our leader, put a sock monkey on her shoulder and called him her “Critter.” Her Critter is resentment. She went on to describe how that Critter affects her mood and how she treats herself and others. She scattered tiny animals on the floor and asked us all to take one and write about our critters.  This is my journal entry, and here is my critter – a gorilla.

The Criticism Gorillas rides on my pencil, staring me in the eyes.
Criticism Critter is a gorilla. He stands up on his back legs, pounds his chest, and intimidates. He might turn his back on me and show me his backside, walking away from me, abandoning me because I’m not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, self-confident enough. Then, he lifts his head, pulls his lips back from his teeth and laughs an insidious, deep, dark laugh.
I’m leaving this forest – NO more gorillas riding on my back!

What I’m writing about here is destructive criticism, the kind that leaves you feeling beat up. Get out of the relationships that attack who you are and what you do. The world is full of criticism. The artist’s life is a set up for rejection. You need to surround yourself with people who give you light and love. They will be in your camp when the No’s show up in your inbox. They will tell you that you are always good enough and to keep shining your unique light in this dark world.

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. It is good group therapy the first Wednesday of each month.

Go. Create. Inspire!
The world is waiting to hear (read, see) your unique voice.

Journaling Prompt:  What does your critter look and sound like?