No-one ever kicks a dead dog
There are two types of criticism:
- One comes from a place of love. This can be constructive and even encouraging.
- Another from a place of fear or envy. Otherwise known as negative criticism.
To be criticized with negative intention means that you have aroused something within someone else such as jealousy or a feeling of inadequacy. In order for the critic to feel better and elevated somehow, they need to put other people down.
When someone condemns our work, comments unkindly on our appearance, judges our parenting style or disapproves of any of our actions, it is a pure and total reflection of them, not us. Take relief and comfort that a critic’s words often have nothing to do with you at all. Ever! Think about it. When you’re laying into someone, are you ever feeling good about yourself? When you go for the low blow, the snarky diss, the nasty side remark – is it because you’re feeling on top of the world? Didn’t think so. Because hurt people hurt people. Negative criticism largely arises from feelings of hurt, fear or rejection.
Here are 6 reasons critics can be a good thing in your life:
Negative criticism often means you are doing something worth achieving
In order to be criticized, it means you are taking action in some form. Aristotle said:
The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.
It can make you better
When criticism is positively fueled and constructive, we can improve, learn and grow. I love hearing thoughtful and useful feedback about my writing and coaching style. I take it all on board and use what works for me. Everything else I forgive and delete with indifference.
The person shows you who they really are
Negative criticism shows us who the critic/s really are – often unfulfilled people who are therefore naturally unsupportive of your life’s path. The way they react to what you are doing is a reflection of how they feel about their own lives. Once you truly understand this you know what freedom feels like!
Critics reassure us that we are on the right track
The further you get in your life, the more critics you can expect. It means that people are paying attention to you. Steven Pressfield said that criticism is what you really want as a creative person, he calls it “the supreme compliment.”
You prove worthy of other peoples energy
When someone is talking about you it means that you are affecting them somehow. They are using their time and attention to talk about you. Funnily enough, being the subject of someone’s criticism can be a very flattering thing. If I may quote another fabulous person, Oscar Wilde famously said:
There is only one thing worse than being talked about…
It teaches you about yourself
I was so sensitive when I first started writing. I was shocked at the venom of online commenters. Sometimes some responses can be helpful as they point out something that I never considered or they highlight a different way of looking at something. But in the end, I have to approve of my work.
The more confident I feel in who I am, the less influenced I am by other people. The way you let criticism impact you is a great barometer of how strong you are becoming.
There will always be people who disagree with you or who dislike your ideas and actions. Forgive them if they upset you. And if it comes from your competition? Heck – it’s a positive dig! Competition in general is a good thing. It’s proof that there is a market for you and that there’s demand for what it is that you want to put out there into the world. And when you’re competitors fear you, they say mean stuff. Ironically, it means you’re doing great!
Remember that the road to success invites a lot of critics so the sooner you know what to take on board and what to release, the better. The fact that criticism exists at all also reminds us that all we can ever do is our best – speak our truth, deliver our greatest work and surrender the rest.
You can also decide to be on your own side. Instead of focusing on negative criticism, be your own cheerleader. You can be your own best friend or your harshest critic — and no one can control this apart from you. When my thoughts and feelings are destructive, I focus on my accomplishments, what I am proud of myself for, and what I am grateful for. Because the most significant relationship you have is with yourself. Release and replace criticism with some self compassion.
And as one of my favorite books, The Magic of Thinking Big, says, “Expect critics, its proof you are growing.” And the ladder of growth is the only place to be.
How do you respond to critics? Please share with me in the comments below!