An Open Letter to My Critics

by Russ Hill on March 25, 2013

The truth is you’ve existed as long as I have.

I didn’t realize you were there until my early teenage years.  It was then I began to hear your whisperings.

As I’ve gotten older you seem to have multiplied.  Like mosquitos or scorpions do.

You’ve followed me wherever I’ve lived, studied, worked, worshipped, or played.

I’ve decided that for a brief moment I will quit ignoring you.  And speak directly to you.

Let me begin by saying two words: Thank you.

Thank you for helping me realize there are Critics and Creators.  And that I choose to Create.

I’ve struggled over the years to understand your objectives.  But the more I’ve heard your whisperings the more I’ve come to grasp why you do what you do.

And that leads me to the second thing I’d like to say to you: I’m sorry.

I wish so badly you could see things more positively.  Your world would be so much brighter.  So much more colorful.  So much happier.

I know you think you’re doing me a favor by pointing out my flaws or telling others about my weaknesses.

But there are so many problems with your approach.

Your work will never be done.  Because I have many flaws.  And I gave up faking perfection a long time ago.

Every time you speak I become more motivated.  You help me realize I’m making a difference.  That I’m connecting with someone or accomplishing something.

You’re silent only when I’m idle.

Watching you, I’ve come to understand that guessing the motives or intent of another is a fool’s game.

Your pointed words suggest you’ve never walked this path or worn these shoes.

Maybe you’re preoccupied with fairness.  Perhaps you’re worried my happiness and success mean I have escaped struggle, failure, and sadness.  When can we chat?

You have denounced my decisions for our team.  But have never asked about my sleepless nights of deliberation or considered how much I have to lose if I’m wrong.

When I show courage you see arrogance.

When I am simply sharing you accuse me of declaring.

When I have meant the best you have suspected the worst.

When it has been my responsibility to be decisive you have told others I’m divisive.

I’m grateful there aren’t many of you.

I realize that you mean me no harm.  Most of the time.

I wish you no harm.  Most of the time.

I forgive you because the truth I have discovered is: Many times I am you.

My own worst Critic.

I hope you are not aware I have children.  But then I realize if they are to accomplish anything in this life they must endure you.  I am already working hard to teach them how to ignore you.

The reality is your words and actions have had an impact.  I will admit you have caused me to second guess and retreat at times in my life.

But then I have examined your motives.

And my heart.

And decided to keep Creating.

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