If I say something, and the other person is angry about it, I can begin to feel like I am too much and should just keep my mouth shut. On the other hand, if I know I am choosing my words carefully and being true to myself, and not intentionally trying to hurt the other, then I am speaking up, speaking my truth. A part of me says I should keep quiet in the future, and say less so as to avoid angering others, but another part of me disagrees. I’ve been angered by things people have said to me, and if I allow myself to really look into why it angers me, I almost always find that it has nothing to do with the other person, except that their words happened to trigger the reaction in me. What I do with that anger is up to me. Whether or not I lay blame, is up to me. What I learn about myself is up to me.
I was recently given unsolicited advice about my artwork, about how I should paint. The message I heard was that I do too much, that “less is more”, and I shouldn’t paint hearts. I was initially angry and defensive. Then, I realized that this opinion is one opinion among many, and there is no right way to paint. Beyond that, I discovered that this person’s advice was really a gift to me, because it gave me the opportunity to work through the emotions, and it also tested my confidence in my own work. Am I willing to be swayed to change my style by one person’s comment? On the other hand, am I willing to experiment with my style to see if I agree with her? I really enjoyed the lessons I learned through this.
My friend spoke up. I was angry. I learned. Thank you.