Writers, like all of us, are looking for recognition, perhaps even more so than those of us who get some kind of feedback about our work in the world on an hourly basis throughout the day. So, when another writer praises the work you have just read, it naturally triggers that ego-glow. What happens when the feedback is not on the praise end of the continuum? The ego-defense typically gets triggered, and creativity, graciousness, balance and other good qualities are put at risk.
For any of us, the rush to judgment about you-name-it happens quickly, automatically. As the critiquer, it can be an opportunity to highlight our “strengths:” critical thinking, expertise, competence. Usually, we are responding to an ego need above all.
What if we were to suspend judgment? Just that: hold whatever is said in our realm of attention as though we were cradling a new-born, holding it secure for the moment in a larger space while we took a good look at it: Is it smiling? Making noises? Breathing evenly? With this living being in my arms, what am I curious about?
Next time you recognize the urge to rush to judgment, take a step back and ask:
- What is the thought, the emotion, that is trying to be born at this moment?
- What does it trigger in me as a response? What is there in the thought or emotion that I can be appreciative of?
- What am I curious about? How can I ask for more information without going to judgment?
Judgment, evaluation, decision-making: these are all important as we move ahead in our lives and our workplaces. We just go there way too quickly most of the time. Try a break from the ego responses by moving first to appreciation and inquiry.