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Student Opinion: Rowdy Teaff

By Rowdy Teaff, News Editor

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” -Aristotle

Life hasn’t been overly difficult for me, but I have had to deal with a lot of criticism. Small towns can be a microcosm for negative opinions, and when you participate heavily in that community, criticism follows. My high school and early college years made me look to finding bits of motivation to get me through tough times. I would read my Bible, watch motivational videos, read quotes from Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Aristotle.

Aristotle’s quote about criticism is something that I have posted over my desk as a reminder of how life can be. Being criticized isn’t fun, but this and other stressors can mold us into the young professionals that we need to be. One of my mentors taught me that it is best to be adaptable and to always search for the latest and greatest information so that you are always learning. Being criticized is just a fact of life, so it is best to embrace it, take it with a grain of salt and keep pressing towards your goals.

Life is stressful. A common theme for this particular point of the year is stress. Everything done in college is evaluated. Going to class, taking a test, attending chapel and applying to graduate schools are all measured and recorded. Some people believe higher education is just a waste of time. Instagram and Twitter seem to be full of these “financial gurus” that have their 21-step process to becoming your own boss, driving luxury cars and working from any beach in the world. Their strategies could be legit, but usually if something sounds too good to be true, then it often is.

Criticism comes with evaluation. If you are trying to do anything in life, you are going to be criticized positively and negatively so that you can be molded into the person that you need to be. Social media seems to magnify the negative critics in our lives, and the one that is magnified in my own life is my inner critic. When I look at other people’s posts, I wonder why my life doesn’t appear that happy. Why can’t I have this picturesque life that fills an Instagram feed? Why is it that I don’t have this many picture-perfect moments that are worth posting about? These little moments of doubt in my own worth can follow me from time to time when I get too obsessed with social media.

Being able to move past the superficial nature of social media was a major step in maturity for me. I stopped posting stupid pictures on Instagram, and I even deleted my twitter account altogether. Although I didn’t receive a lot of criticism on my posts, I saw too much negativity on both platforms. I moved the Instagram app into a folder on the second page of my phone to create more resistance, and deleted Twitter completely. Not seeing everyone’s highlight reel made me realize how much my inner critic was brought out through social media. If my life is already stressful, why would I want to add more stress from something so insignificant? My inner critic got a little quieter, and I started to notice aspects of my life that I had not before.

My inner critic is the one that is the hardest on me. Social media made it speak louder than any other outside voice. In a world full of critics that are going to evaluate every little move you do, don’t let yourself get in your own way.


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