May 15, 2023

What holds me back.

Handling Criticism, Praise, + Fear of Toxic Attacks. ~ Waylon Lewis

I’m not afraid of criticism. It’s helpful, if well-intentioned, even if I don’t agree with 100%, separating the wheat from the chaff, there’s much to learn from them.

I’m not afraid of compliments. They’re helpful, as long as we don’t buy too fully into them.

I am afraid of…


In thinking about running for and serving on Council or even Mayor, I’m not afraid of putting myself out there, or getting criticized. It’s healthy, and helpful.

I am not afraid of compliments, either, I have a well-adjusted ego or sense of self, thanks to many things, but most of all Maitri practice (making friends with oneself—instead of as we see with Trump throwing all praise in an endless vacuum, and only wanting to listen to such, and regarding any fair question as “nasty”).

I don’t confuse compliments with feeding my arrogance, or insecurity, which might be two shades of the same color. I find both compliments and criticism helpful—like a friend walking along behind me, blindfolded, helping me navigate a long hallway.

I am more afraid of personal attacks. Those that get under my skin, where I’m sensitive. Those seem harder to breathe through. Sometimes, I’m easy with them (Obama brushing off shoulder gif)—I’ve had years of practice in the trenches of social media, of course, with 13 million social fans and Elephant’s covering of every controversial issue that pisses some group or another off.

And I’ve had years of practice being a rather large or well known goldfish in this goldfish bowl. Still, I am afraid of unfair attacks—a candidate last round called me a “womanizer,” despite my evident lack of charm/sleaze, and my track record of friendship with those I have dated, and genuine, wholesome relationships (even if I fail in them), and never really ever playing around. That felt ucky, and random, and was a learning moment.

Dealing with such random salvos will be an area of growth, for me, if I go forward. How to response to accusations where I am put on the side of the fence of those who are racist, sexist, abusive, yuppie/selfish, whatever it is. It will be on me to reply and clarify, but not get sucked in.

President Teddy’s poem about The Arena comes to mind.

What else holds me back? The bad pay, the bad lighting, hours and years spent serving and listening to those fired up by sometimes-crazy passions, however well-intentioned? The prospect of working so hard for no appreciation and failing to see that hard work translate to progress on housing, climate, transportation, homelessness, civil discourse?

I’ve seen slings and arrows slung at Council members, and Steve and Jared and Joe and Mark, and the many others I’ve been friends with and, or interviewed and endorsed over the years. Occasionally, not often, I’ve fallen into unfair criticisms against them (sorry again, Joe) or others, but typically I know what I don’t know and ask and listen until I feel founded in facts.

What else holds me back? Not being able to visit with my mom as much as I’d like, let alone move to Halifax. Perhaps we can get her here, despite the altitude and health issues. Or perhaps I just visit more and appreciate more fully, as I already am doing, more.

Well, that’s it. If anyone read all of this, thank you for bearing with me. I think I’ll do it, but I am open to hearing good reasons why I shouldn’t. I continue to meet with several folks a week, as I’ve done for months now. If there’s someone I should meet with, please comment! I’m all ears.


For more: Handling Criticism, Praise, + Fear of Toxic Attacks. ~ Waylon Lewis

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