Are you a Critic or a Doer?
Back in the 90s when I was hosting The Bertice Berry Show and then USA Live we often booked the movie critic Bobby Rivers. It was obvious to viewers that Bobby was a favorite of mine and the producers. I laughed and somtimes even cried along with Bobby when he shared a movie review.
He was great at breaking down a movie and even if you hadn’t seen it, you felt like you had. Bobby’s reviews always took me back to my childhood when I was not allowed to see certain movies. I was hyper-sensitive to violence and would cry loudly in the theatre if someone was killed so my brother Kevin would see the movie for me. Afterwards he would play it back for me using only his voice and my imagination. Years later when I’d finally see those same movies, I was left wanting because Kevin’s version was so much better.
Bobby Rivers is that kind of movie critic; he doesn’t just review a movie, he enables the audience to want to by pointing out something good even if he didn’t like it for himself.
I’m talking about a movie critic in a post about transformation and wellness because I believe that we have become a nation of critics, but not the Bobby Rivers type. Where Bobby could see a bad movie and find the good, we have become a nation of folks who look at the lives and work of others, trying to find what we think is wrong.
Several years back I came to see how much I had been responding to the criticism of others. I asked someone who had criticized my work how they would have done it and I was rewarded with a gift I share with you now.
The self-appointed critic admitted that they had never done what I had done, nor would they have ever tried.They told me. “That’s just too much work.”
I stepped back as if the person had passed some really bad gas, because when I got wind of what they were saying it reeked of the kind of insincerity that I detest. We all know someone who speaks their venomous opinion and then says, “Would you prefer for me to lie?”
No one wants a lie, but if your "truth" is a reflection of how you feel about yourself more than it is a reflection of the work you are criticizing, keep it to yourself.
So I’m sharing this because this morning I had to correct myself. I was going to write a piece about a woman who wrote an article about putting her 8 year old on a diet. As soon as I began to write, I heard a little voice in my head that said, “You don’t know that woman and you don’t know what she is going through.”
I thanked that little voice and began to question why it is so easy to look at someone else’s work as a model for what we don’t like.
I began writing this blog for a few friends and family members who had been reading A Year to Wellness and wanted daily coaching. I decided that I would not repeat the information in the book but would use the blog to provide additional tools, reflections and inspiration. I wanted to stay away from the things that we are divided on (religion and politics) and use this as a place for wellness. In just 95 days we are at almost 18,000 readers and each day I am humbled by the email, comments, and calls that I get saying that these posts are helping folks change for the better. I am inspired and uplifted even as I deal with my own personal struggles.
When I hear from people who have an opinion on what I should be writing about or what they think I have left out, I listen for truth. Sometimes I am rewarded with a true critique; one that seeks to help me do and be better. But when I feel that the critic is coming from some other place, I ask them a simple question; Do you now or have you ever attempted to do what I am doing in any way shape or form? If the answer is no, I smile and say thank you.
Then I say about their opinion what Bobby would say after reviewing a movie he didn’t like;
“It’s not for me, but maybe it’s for you.”
Today ask yourself; am I a critic or a doer?
Be you, be well, Do
Bertice Berry, PhD.