Last week I talked about limiting the amount of mean criticism you have to put up with. This week, let’s revisit that topic, only to learn from it.
Yes, we can learn when someone is mean to us.
We’ve all had unhappy feelings when attacked. Maybe it’s a twinge in your chest or gut, a reflexive desire to lash out, a sense of unfairness, of being misunderstood. Maybe it’s all of those. Everyone has experienced feeling some form of lousy when criticized. What to do?
First, look past your feelings about the person. If you’re hearing something mean, you’ve probably encountered negative sayings from this person in the past. So, why does the criticism bother you? What “ouch” point does it hit? If it didn’t resonate, you wouldn’t be bothered.
Let’s say someone calls you a bank robber. You don’t rob banks, so that’s easy to dismiss.
But when someone questions your talent, you may think, “What if he’s right? What if I am a no-talent fraud? Maybe I was just lucky to get my first book published. Maybe it will be a flop.”
Even if your book for some reason doesn’t perform well, a number of people on a publishing committee agreed it was good enough to present to the public. You do have talent.
Or maybe someone says your book is trivial. This can happen even if you just bought a new car or paid college tuition (or both) with your royalty check. Romance writers especially know what I mean. We are often dismissed.
What you are writing is pleasing to your publisher and readers. Don’t let anyone minimize your worth.
Cruel criticism is meant to hurt, to hit you where you feel most vulnerable and insecure. If attacked:
- Thank the critic because that doesn’t mean you agree, but now you’ve disarmed him.
- When you’re alone, evaluate the comment and why it bothered you.
- Learn from those feelings, and let them motivate you to keep growing and improving.
As the popular saying goes, “Haters gonna hate.” As in my last post, I recommend limiting your interactions with mean-spirited critics as much as you can. And pray for them. They won’t admit it, but despicable comments come from their own hurt.
What tips can you offer to those who are criticized?
Do you have a story of healing you’d like to share?