**seriously. this entry may put a bee in your bonnet, and may induce paranoia that i am talking about you. who knows, you might be right! but don't say i didn't warn you...**
so here's a question: how fair is it to hold out hope that people will actually tell us when they are upset with something we have said, done, implied, enacted, emailed...whatever? actually you know what, let's bring it in from the abstract, cuz what i really want to know is how fair is it for me to hope for this? personally, i like my criticism straight up and straightforward. have i hurt you or disappointed you? are my personal habits making you bonkers, or do i never call you back when i say i will? i'm serious here. how do you like hearing the not-so-glowing things from people in your life? would you rather everyone sweep it under the carpet and hope it goes away, never to be referred to again? or would you prefer the build-up-and-explode method, of which there are several variations (e.g., the build-up-and-explode-years-later edition, the build-up-and-explode-in-front-of-an-innocent-third-party approach, and the build-up-and-execute-silent-treatment version)?
after writing my gd outline until the wee hours of this morning, i was almost on my last nerve. luckily for me, someone chose 9 am to perform a mexican hat dance on my third-to-last one, which left a whole other two for all of today (which were subsequently used by 1. cleaning up the lumpy puddle of cat puke i nearly stepped in following my shower and 2. the bubblehead who, in addition to apparently bathing in 'white diamonds' - you go elizabeth taylor - also jostled my coffee-holding arm at the self-serve tim horton's). so, between the cat barf and my uplifting 12:30 class on toxins in breastmilk, i attempted to address built-up-and-exploded-over-email issues with said person, and then donned the guilt cloak for awhile (i have this thing where i am really selfish with blame, in that i like to keep it all to myself) but once i shirked that...i was pret-ty bugged.
now, by no means am i perfect, as anyone who knows me can attest. i have a very detailed series of log books that go back to my toddler years, upon whose lines are painstakingly etched (by me) the ways i am imperfect. while i'm at it, i might as well admit that i can be somewhat hypocritical, in that i don't always practice what i preach...a quality that i find quite repugnant in self as well as others. anyway. all i can tell you is i'm working on it. in fact, i'm getting pretty broke from working on it).
all directionless, dripping sarcasm aside, i am in a conundrum here. i really don't understand this shock and awe approach, yet i'd say more people than not use it. i spent a lot of time trying to reason it all out today, like: do we do this out of fear (of reproach, retaliation, rejection)? or is it just simply that it is easier to be on the offensive than to be vulnerable? are the things that irk us the most in others the things we need to work on ourselves? are we just too polite? how much of it is a result of our upbringing? and then lastly, what kind of valid, achievable alternatives really exist in those prickly, difficult situations when we need to communicate our not-so-happy feelings with someone we care about?
with the quickness of my anger this morning and on a couple of other recent occasions, i realize that my nerves for the 'build-up-and-explode' varieties of communication are few and close to the surface. not only is this problematic in terms of the amount of anger i could potentially expend, but if i am not careful, i could all too easily feed into the very cycle that puzzles me, by being so angry about the approach people use, that i become unapproachable. ha. the irony. i think there is validity in that, and i have added this to my personal to-do log book.
but i refuse to sit with this question alone, and encourage you to take a little self-survey and see what you find. what's your favourite way to 'do' criticism, and is it the same way that you like it done to you?