“They either hate me or praise me and I can’t deal with it,” he said, half laughing to himself.
“Are you serious or just joking?” she asked in a tone more serious than not.
He stopped laughing and became reflective for a moment.
“Well,” he said slowly, “both tend to throw me off kilter. The criticism tears me up and makes me eager to prove it wrong. The praise puffs me up, but secretly I know it can’t last. We all disappoint.”
She nodded. “They both manipulate your ego. I get it.”
They were both quiet for a moment.
“How about this: hold both praise and criticism loosely. And then,” she said, staring into his eyes, “you can’t be controlled. By them, by your ego, by anything.”