After putting in countless hours of work into creating, the last thing we want to hear is criticism.
It’s hard to digest, much easier to get defensive.
So we defend ourselves by saying things like:
- “When was the last time they created something?”
- “Are they even an expert?”
- “They are just a mean-spirited troll, with nothing better to do than shoot people down!”
Yes, they might not have created a damn thing in their lives.
Yes, they might not be an expert.
Yes, they might be having a rough day and decided to take it out on our work.
And yes they might even be a troll.
But what if they aren’t?
What if instead of just singing our praises, they took the time, energy, and courage to speak up and tell us something different from the herd, knowing that we might meet it with resistance?
What if they did that because they want to help us improve?
Maybe because they are searching for an answer that we haven’t adequately provided?
Maybe because they are aware of something flawed in our work, that we weren’t even aware of?
Could it be possible?
And maybe we interpreted their tone and delivery as being harsher than it was intended to be?
Could it be possible they’re impassioned?
Or are we too thick headed to admit our mistakes?
Admit that there is room for improvement?
Ultimately, we get to decide whether we want to investigate a criticism or let it go.
Opening ourselves up to criticism shakes our confidences and makes us feel vulnerable. Those are the difficult moments that cause us anxiety, but they also show whether we really care about learning and improving or just producing work and moving on once it has shipped.
When was the last time you received a critical comment? Were you curious and did you investigate to see if it’s coming from a place that cares, or is just trying to cut you down? Let me know in the comments below!