Sometimes it’s best to ignore negative criticism. To ignore doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen. We should. But often, negative critics are not experts. They’re just people who think they know something about the topic at hand.
Before taking any criticism about your creative work to heart, ask yourself a few questions:
- Does the critic have the qualifications? I’ve had people criticize my music who have absolutely no background in music. Of course, we should listen to our fans. But sometimes they don’t truly understand. Or they are judging based on their own personal preferences.
- Are they being helpful? If negative criticism is framed in a way that could help you to improve, there might be some good that can come from it. Sometimes we need to hear things we don’t want to hear. If you can learn from it, it’s constructive.
- Are they being hurtful? Often, negative criticism comes from people who are insecure about their own lives, their own abilities. If the criticism holds no real value but is only meant to be snarky or mean, ignore it.
Here’s how I deal with criticism:
- Listen. I don’t tune out at the first word that sounds negative. I hear out the critic. But I’m also ready to evaluate their judgments logically.
- Remain calm. I don’t get overly emotional. That’s often exactly what the negative Nancy wants you to do. Stay calm. Say something like, “I appreciate your view and I’ll take your thoughts into consideration.” Then walk away and forget about it.
- Don’t take it too personally. I try to disconnect. I don’t usually let negative criticism get to me. If I know the information isn’t true, it’s easy to let go.
- Keep on moving. Keep doing what you do. Keep improving. Don’t let unwarranted negative criticism stop you from becoming better at your art.
Criticism can be helpful at times, but it can also be hurtful, especially if you give it that power. – dse