One of my favorite quotes is by Samuel Silas Curry, a turn of the century speech teacher, “There is nothing so encouraging as good criticism.” He goes on to say that good criticism simply compares the actual with the ideal.
Vicky@collegeparentcentral commenting on my post Confidence in the Face of Criticism
Thank you for sharing Curry’s advice.
This comment made me realize that if you struggle with perfectionism, the tips in my earlier post are only going to take you so far. If criticism points out the gap between the actual and the ideal but you have trouble accepting that your work will never reach the ideal, then all criticism is going to be pretty hard to take.
Perfectionism is only useful insofar as it helps you aspire to your best work. If your perfectionism prevents you from engaging in the academic conversation, it has become a problem.
Good criticism helps you approach the ideal more closely. Your goal is to engage in that conversation; to be part of the collective striving for Truth or Understanding (or whatever you are most comfortable calling it) that academic work is all about.