Dealing With Negative Criticism
Oh, negative criticism: no one wants it but when it comes, it can feel like a sharp object piercing through your gut. At least this is what it felt like for me at first. It's not that I've never received it before, I have countless times but this time felt especially difficult. It's odd how when a random person gives criticism or comments badly on something, it doesn't phase you at all but then then when it comes from someone who you love & who is very close to you, it can feel like a different story.
So, here's one of my experiences:
One sunny day, in the midst of random talk during a drive, I mentioned to someone how I would love to make more videos and potentially a vlog of my life abroad. As excited as I felt as those words spilled out of my mouth, that was quickly turned into feelings of shame, anger, confusion, and embarrassment. This person didn't react positively to my comment and then later explained to me how when they were showing friends a recent video I made, they felt embarrassed and ashamed of me. That while my video was playing and the friends were watching, this person got red in the face and their body started to sweat from embarrassment. That they didn't recognize me in the video and that I looked like a stupid girl, along with other things.
In that moment I would love to tell you that I took a deep breath in & out, relaxed, and then calmly spoke about it. But I'm not going to lie and pretend I'm some perfect person without feelings. So, in reality, my first feeling was anger. I felt angry at this person for feeling so horrible about something I created. I didn't understand how someone who loves you could say and feel such things. I didn't understand why this person would get so caught up in something I made.
So, how did this story end? Well, after the feelings of anger came many others but eventually after realizing the things I mentioned above, I knew I needed to work on letting it go. Maybe this comes easier to some more than others but from me it took some time in this instance.
But anyways, this was my process on how I moved forward:
. I saw this persons perspective with compassion. I understood that they come from a different culture and upbringing, which might not be so open to same things I am. I also understood that this person might not feel so free in expressing themselves so therefore seeing me do it might have brought up uncomfortable feelings.
. I realized that this persons criticism is only their belief. The fact that they felt so embarrassed by something I made only has to do with their thoughts, not mine.
. I forgave them and let the situation go because ultimately I would have only kept hurting myself the most by holding onto anger. Also, the bigger you make a bad experience in your mind and the more emphasis you put onto it, the more power you give to it.
. And finally, I just kept creating and doing the things I love anyways.
Now, I'm 26 years old. At this age, I've been through enough things in life to know things. I'm also young enough not to know everything & to be learning along the way so I'll never say I'm a 'life expert'. But what I do know to be true is this: in this world, no matter what you say, do, or create - it will always be disagreed with or hated by someone. It's completely 100% inevitable. Even the most incredible things created by the most successful people are un-liked and criticized by someone.
And what I have learned and am continuing to learn is that that's perfect ok. How someone views something or someone has to do entirely with their perception & thoughts and that it something that I've realized you cannot change. I believe if something feels right to you, if you get excited by doing something, or if something just genuinely brings you joy then you should do it - even if it's weird, odd, and no one understands it. Eventually, in my opinion, it will all look ridiculous in a few years anyways. And as long as you're not doing harm onto someone then I believe we should feel free to express ourselves in the ways that brings us joy.
It took what felt like a harsh experience for me to finally realise this all but once I did, I've come to a bigger realization that absolutely nothing anyone does or says can affect me. Sometimes it can be something difficult like a certain experience or it can just be as easy as reading someone else's experience to be able to see this. Either way, my hope is for everyone to have such a realization because the world needs our creativity. It needs our self-expression. It needs our individuality. And most importantly, it needs all those things that we hold so deep inside of us.
I hope this serves you in your own journey.