People say a lot about how to handle the negative things we've been told. "Forget it and just remember the nice ones," they say, or "Those who are close to you know what you're really like or what you can really do."
But I wonder if at times, I can credit the negative words for pushing me in a positive direction. Three years ago (can't believe it's been that long!) an agent read fifty pages at my attempt at a novel. This was a fragment of six months of hard work. Six months that nobody in my world seemed to understand, to top it off: I had just decided to take some time off to write, without any promise or potential, and everyone in my life seemed to have a discouraging thing to say about it.
"This just doesn't read like fiction," she said when we spoke on the phone. "You need a writing class." Her tone was withdrawn and straight-to-business. So was my crying that followed.
But in the coming months, I saw that she was right. It didn't read like fiction at all. Hard work and effort didn't mean that the product was worthy.
Then I think of something that happened in fifth grade. My teacher told my mom that I wouldn't amount to anything in life. I can see where she was coming from: we had just moved to the area and I missed all my old friends and didn't concentrate in school, I also stopped socializing, and wasn't athletic. Looking back, all I can think is, "what a terrible thing to say about any fifth grader!" But at the time, my mom conveying those words back to me pushed me to prove her wrong.
Anyway, I think that "negativity" of any sort could just be a positive message in disguise. So maybe it isn't about negative or positive but rather, what we do with it.