“To escape criticism- do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” These words, spoken by famed writer Elbert Hubbard, hit the nail right smack on the head. Criticism can be crippling and the fear of being criticized can be catastrophic. It can prevent you from taking those grand risks that lead to greatness and hinder you from reaching your full potential.
I’ve faced my fair share of criticism and I am sure all of you have as well. A little while ago, someone said some not-so-nice things about ANM and I was simply devastated. I mean ANM is my baby, it’s what I put my heart and soul into. Even in the face of all the positive feedback we’ve received, this one little comment caused me to crumble. The experience really got me thinking about criticism and how to deal with it.
Everyone, from the most beautiful women to the most talented singers to the most insightful writers, has haters out there who think them ugly, untalented, inarticulate and so on. It’s no wonder so many celebrities crack under the pressure of intense scrutiny. I’m not sure how well I’d be able to handle it, a sentiment that is undoubtedly widely shared.
There is no way to avoid criticism, especially when you put yourself out there and do something bold and daring, but there are ways to learn how to take it like a champ and casually dust the cruel words right off your shoulders.
Read on to learn how to handle criticism with grace:
Acknowledge the source
This is something I think we all learned in middle school and high-school: there are many people out there (usually girls, I hate to say it) who enjoy being mean for meanness sake. In most cases, this has everything to do with jealously or insecurity and nothing whatsoever to do with the victim of their wrath.
I have a friend who is both incredibly smart and incredibly beautiful. All her life she has been pegged as just a dumb blond. Is she dumb? No, she’s brilliant! Does it make people feel better about themselves for a beautiful girl to be lacking in some other significant area? It certainly does.
These mean for being mean people often don’t know you at all, they just assess and attack based on what they see and want to perceive. If they don’t know you, how can they know enough to critique? They can’t! Look at the comments section of any gossip blog. Can you believe some of the things people say? Even about babies?? I certainly can’t! And if someone is being mean just for the hell of it, then screw it and screw them. They’re insecure and unhappy and you’re not, so alls well that ends well.
Repeat these words: who cares?!
There have been people in my life who I really trusted who have turned around and said really nasty things about me. I was really upset by it at the time, but in hindsight it was all so stupid because the things they said, while very mean, were not even close to true. And if it isn’t true, then why should I care? And if it is true, then again, why should I care?
No one is perfect, we all have flaws and we can either embrace them as small quirks that make us who we are, or work on improving them (but only because we want to and certainly not to please anyone else!). Either way, it’s no big deal and certainly not something to get into a tizzy over.
Is it really ‘criticism’?
Criticism falls into two categories: constructive and destructive. Sometimes when people give us helpful tips about how we can improve, commonly referred to as ‘constructive criticism,’ we immediately go into defensive mode and interpret it as destructive criticism. When someone is sincerely trying to give you tips and insights as to how you can better some area of your life, this should not be interpreted as mean or malicious. Rather than immediately dismissing what this person has to say, give it some thought and really consider whether it has merit.
An editor once told me to tighten up my writing and to avoid being so verbose. My reaction: ‘I most certainly am not verbose! I’m articulate and like to go into depth and explain things thoroughly. That’s a good thing! Verbose, ha!” Then, after examining some of my writing, I realized that lo and behold, I was a bit overly wordy. I put in the effort to correct this issue and my writing improved enormously.
Take a cue from Khloe
Yup, I’m using Khloe Kardashian as a role model for this article. Due to the fact that she spills beyond the borders of the size zero mold that dominates Hollywood, she has incurred a deluge of criticism about her weight and appearance. People even had the nerve to say she looked fat on her wedding day, can you imagine?
Rather than letting these cruel words consume her being, she, for the most part, ignores it and when she’s not ignoring it, she’s fighting against it and proudly professing that she is perfectly happy with the way she looks. The haters will always talk, but Khloe seems happier and more confident now than ever, so who gets the last laugh?
Ditch the biggest critic of all….yourself!
By criticizing ourselves all the time, we open the door for others to join the party. If you have a strong sense of confidence, one that really comes from within, you will forever be immune to criticism. It is only those who waver on their convictions that are at the mercy of others.
When it comes to your self-image, you need to stand on solid ground, hold your head high, acknowledge who you are, flaws and all, embrace it, and love it without question, doubt, or hesitation.
How do YOU handle criticism? Is there some great secret I left out? Tell us about it in the comments section!
– SABRINA ALEXIS