I have said in my blog and to writer friends that critiquing helps me improve *my own* writing, as well as contributes feedback to the other person for their own writing. Yes, it takes away from my available time to write, but in the end, it is worth it for both people involved. (And for anyone else who’s participating, like in a class.)
Of course, as in any such feedback, this is what *I* see in such experiences. Your mileage may vary. But it occurred to me this morning that showing compassion to another being (human or otherwise) has a comparable benefit. A kindness takes time—to help an animal in need, to hear another person’s story, to share your own and commiserate, to offer advice when asked, to stay silent when all that’s needed is an ear and a shoulder, to pick up another’s load and carry it a while so that they can rest.
It takes time. But it doesn’t just help the one in need; it helps me too. It lifts me out of my own grief/shadow/funk/whatever and makes me hear my own words reflected back at me. (“You are strong. You can do this. You are awesome. Pace yourself. Don’t overthink.”) It lets them—and me—know we are not alone in our problems, no matter what they are. That time spent is worth every second. Worth every minute. Worth every hour.
Be kind. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. And don’t keep score. The Universe has a way of bringing things around when/where needed.