Psst. You over there. Check out the 99 Ways series already.
Don’t do criticism. I mean you can criticize other people. Dish it out with as much vitriol as you can muster or an eyedropper‘s worth of compassion, your choice. But don’t allow that criticism to come your way.
If you want a life that stinks, you should first avoid criticism at all costs. Second, call anyone who dares to criticize you out for what they really are — a bunch of jealous, crabs-in-a-barrel, don’t-want-to-see-you-shine H.A.T.E.R.S.
This strategy not only allows you to avoid the pain of their critique, but you also get to feel like a superior human in the process. Win-win. Except for that there are some benefits to criticism. Painful as it may be. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t tell you about the upside of critique.
Benefits of criticism
I would bet good money that even the masochists amongst us does not enjoy being ripped apart for who they are or the work that they do. I’ll likely never have to pay up because I don’t know any masochists personally. Wait, are you a masochist? No judgsies.
We don’t lie in bed with dreams of criticism dancing in our heads. Critique hurts. It can make us feel foolish. Or want to crawl back into our dark hole. Criticism can make us think we won’t achieve our goals. It reinforces that little voice that tells us that we are not good enough, we were not good enough back then, and we can expect to never be good enough in the future.
So, why allow a single drop of criticism into our lives?
Because criticism does make us better. A word rightly spoken can improve our technique, broaden our perspective, stretch us to our limits and shore up our blindspots.
If you want to be remarkable, you can expect to be remarked about. When you are so fragile that you cannot handle feedback, you essentially cut yourself off from those realms where feedback is common. Writing, performance, parenting, marriage, cooking, working — basically you are not going to get out of this life without criticism.
“All men are created equal but only the qualified are allowed to criticize me.” — Quirk E. Pig
All critics are not created equal
Critical people are ALL haters. This sentiment might be an efficient way to silence your detractors. But it’s not true.
There are some people that because of their own issues live to stomp on other people’s dreams. If anyone belongs in your hater category, it’s these folks. There are also those who happened to be in a foul mood that day they read your article, received your product or caught sight of your new shoes. What they said was not fair critique and should not be treated as such.
All men (and women) are created equal but only some are qualified enough to criticize you. A good critic:
- Offers constructive criticism that you can take action on to improve
- Delivers their message with compassion
- Is in the arena battling it out just as you are
- Does not get angry with you or shame you if you do not act upon their advice
- Cares about what happens to you (that’s not to say that a stranger cannot offer worthwhile feedback, in fact, your mom’s agenda for your life might completely taint her advice, but I digress)
By contrast, a bad critic, which should be avoided where possible:
- Offers commentary, often after the fact, that cannot be acted upon
- Delivers their message with little concern or empathy
- Is on the sidelines but somehow knows exactly what you need to do
- Gets angry or tries to shame you when you do not agree with them or act upon their ideas
- Does not have a vested interest in what happens to you (that’s not to say that a stranger cannot offer worthwhile feedback, in fact, your mom’s agenda for your life might completely taint her advice, but I digress, yes that had to be repeated because, moms)
If you want a life that stinks, mush your good critics and bad critics into the same pot.
You can deal with criticism
Criticism will not kill you.
Remember a critic, no matter how compassionate, well-intended or equipped, is not there to determine your worth as a human being. You are worthy and worthwhile. You are divinely and expertly made.
Your sense of well being should never be tied up in the whims of another human, be they friend, foe, hater or congratulator.
You can deal with criticism because you know that your personhood is not on the line here. But your personal growth just might be.
You may be interested in 99 Ways to Build a Life That Stinks: An Anti-Self-Help Journal, available on Amazon (***contains an affiliate link***).