How to Deal with Criticism

Ra’al Ki Victorieux

Do you want to be a person with public relevance? Do you desire to glow as an artist, writer, a social worker? Be ready to face lots of criticism. Some will be raw and crude, others passive-aggressive and in disguise. Anyone can feel entitled to talk about your private life, your body, your life situation, and sometimes, about your work. If you want to bring light to the world or share your knowledge or expertise, remember Prometheus. So, be brave, and have on advance a strategy to deal with criticism.

I. Breath, step back and regain perspective

At the heart of the argument, you could not be in the best shape to counterattack. So, the best is that after you read a criticism, take a breath, go for a walk, talk with supportive friends, try to think about what does the attacker wants? His or her critic can be a way to gain your attention or to show envy, jealously, or even impotence because he/she is not getting you to submit to their desires. The person could not be objective, therefore it could be a troll, without absolutely not worth listening to. Now, if the criticism comes from a declared “fan”, or “social media friend”, take it with a grain of salt. If these persons are just “virtual friends” you have not the experience or the facts for an honest friendship based on respect and mutual support. Fake social media friends could be hypocritical, one day they praise you, another day they criticize you “softly” in your face, or behind your back (and you end up finding about it), or “it was a joke, I didn’t mean to say so”. You don’t need those people on your REAL friendship circle. You require to accept that you are not and won’t be perfect for everyone. And that not all people are kind, some use aggression to get attention or supply, others are just unconscious of their real emotions and desires and use hurtful words in a silly power game. Stay alert and conscious, recognize who are your real friends, and if some important problem comes, deal with it honestly. But avoid falling into empty arguments with fakes and foes. Ignore the troll, don’t feed him.

Also, you can delete problematic contacts, and block troll accounts. If you manage groups on Facebook, you must first remove the person from your groups, and then block them. Otherwise, if you block him first, this person will still be in your groups but you will not be able to see their actions. By the way, whenever you manage Facebook groups it is recommended that you have at least two accounts of yours enabled as editors or administrators to avoid losing vision and action capacity. If the attack becomes a pattern (for example, if the same person stalks you from different accounts), document the process with dates, texts, screenshots, and send the information to the cyber police.

II. The strange bird of useful criticism

If your critic is someone who takes the time and chooses the words to point at your weakness carefully and without aggression, therefore he also shows you options to improve, then listen carefully. It could be a loving parent, a mentor, a teacher, an editor, or an experimented reader, some people from the audience who cares. As an artist or public person, we stand vulnerable, exposing our work and life to the judgments and opinions of others. Sometimes, a bad review is just the way to motivate you to brainstorm: in which ways can you improve? A good master can invite you to listen to your weak points or your shadow, and lovingly help you to find ways to strengthen your abilities and character. These kinds of lessons could be kind of sour, but worthy. You will gain clarity and direction. Listen to the experience of those whom you respect, and be ready to do the work to improve the quality of your work.

How to Deal with Criticism

III. The drama for attention

Have you heard about “fame by proxy”? If you have a medium or big grade or celebrity, some people can try to be around you just for the sake of it. Maybe you aloud it for a while because it’s “kind of nice”, but then you start to feel you are carrying a dead horse or a strange “mini-me”, then is when you reclaim your own space, and things can get nuts. All the love they supposedly had for you, now becomes a negative obsession. As if they thought that if they can’t become famous by being with you, they will “steal” your fame or “good name” being against you. This can become dangerous. Surely you have read about Selena Quintanilla and the creepy killer former manager. Or about Johny Deep and Amber Heard. This is serious stuff. To protect your life, belongings, the life of your loved ones, your reputation, and your career, please be careful who you let into your life. Don’t fall for empty praise. Don’t be naive. And be sure to have a qualified person in the department of human resources, who can apply a psychological test that allows you to reject psychopaths, and other sick people, before hiring personal or team mates.

IV. Deal with self criticism

We all are just humans, and our art is not perfect, but is the experience of flow when creating, and the joy it brings to our life, what helps us to stay on course. Remind your self that art, as life, is a journey, you could be even better than you know, you could have much more less time that you think, so remember to enjoy the ride. Yes, you can keep on practicing and learning new skills to improve, but be gentle and supportive with yourself.

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