It is very easy to criticize, but not so easy to receive criticism. I wish this paradox didn’t exist, but it does, and we all have to accept it. Everyone is subject to censure; from the rich to the poor, the young to the old and the popular to the unknown. Even the most candid cannot escape from its realms. But what really breaks relations or creates anger, resentment or disappointment is not criticism per se, but rather, it is the way people react to it. Let me elucidate by giving you my ‘quasi-Taylor Swift song’ example of my experience with an ex-critic (critic being too big of a euphemism here).
Hardly surprising; I found this person’s condemning remarks on Facebook, a hotspot for such judgmental pricks. I won’t be naming him ; wouldn’t make much of a difference actually; he’s very unpopular. I won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty of what he said either but what I will say is this: I responded brashly to his criticism and that ignited a Hiroshima of back-and-forth hurtful messages. The fight would have continued perpetually if I hadn’t blocked him. Did I feel good after taking unfinished vengeance? No. I felt terrible. Fighting fire with fire in context was the same as fighting fire with water; futile. The more I argued, the more he argued back. The more we quarreled, the stronger he became. The feud still preoccupies much of my brain activity. In fact, writing this article is a half-hearted attempt at exonerating my mind. Things would have been a lot different if I had changed the way I approached his derogatory comments.
So now you know what not to do, but what is the best way to approach criticism? The best way to deal with it is to not deal with it at all. That’s right, ignore it! Cast it away into oblivion! Treat it like your dentist! But wait. Don’t get too excited yet. This is actually a lot easier said than done. Anyone who has experienced a figurative slap on the face knows how difficult it is to not return the slap. We have all had that nudging feeling of getting back at that monster of a person who insulted us. But such a feeling is ephemeral. It lasts for a day or two and subsides. Patience is key to silencing that cranky detractor and putting him to sleep for good.
Now there might be times when ‘you’ feel like disparaging someone; plot twist. You might have been infuriated by what he or she said or did. I mean, what else can you do if you see a teen doing drugs, a man beating a child or an 8 year old impersonating Miley Cyrus? You give them feedback or advice. Feedback always prevails over criticism because the element of empathy is embedded into it. A man giving advice does so with good intentions; he genuinely wants the receiver to change for the better. He understands the circumstances of the wrong-doer. Feedback shouldn’t be ignored, it should be cherished. It makes a huge difference; a difference powerful enough to fix what is wrong.
And to my dear solitary critic; I hope this article sparks some change in you. Please do think twice before abhorring someone. Cheers.
(Picture source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/66212741@N08/7858155676)