I work with this one guy: When he asks me to create a graphic piece – no matter how simple – he always seems afraid to tell me what he dislikes. “That will work” followed by a “but” usually happens. Actually, I work with all men (and one other female) and they all started out this way. I've had to encourage them to disapprove. They are engineers, so to them, I’m the artist; the creative mind – too fragile to insult the work - but I don’t see myself that way and welcome anything that leads to brainstorming. Sure, when they need artwork, I get into my CreativeSuite and create, but I don’t consider myself an “artist” - there are others in the world far more artistic than I am - and my first draft is rarely ever as good as what I come up with after someone hates my work with specific detail – or just general disdain.
Once in college I had this painting class. The professor was a hard ass. He never liked my work. For my final, I ignored his advice and did what I wanted. I was happy with the outcome; he hated it. I was proud of it. I gave it to my mother for Christmas that year. She hung it in the basement. I hate that piece now. I wonder whose eyes I was looking through as I created it sometimes.
I went on a date last night. He asked me the last time I was in love. I thought back and answered: “2008”.
“Me too,” he replied. “That’s a long time. Do you think we’re broken?”
Without hesitation I responded, "No. Was I broken after it? Yes. Have I been broken before? Yes. I don’t think that it was love if it didn’t break you”. I continued, “But I’m a better now because I have been broken in the past”.
He paused for a moment and said, “I agree. I’m just picky, I think.”
This morning after I received the that will work, but email, I opened InDesign and reworked the piece with the little bit of negative feedback I was given. I sent it back to him. “Perfect!” he replied.
Even if truths hurt; even if you really love something in the moment, it might not be best – and just end up in your mom’s basement. Criticism might sting, but opens our eyes to see what we didn’t before and our minds to better resolves. And then, it gets better.