There are two truths you learn when you try to do something creative: “Everybody’s a critic” and “No matter what happens, someone, somewhere will always be offended”.
Jeff Goins blogged about how to handle this kind of criticism. He reminds us that
criticism can be deadly to…creativity.
And says to
…stop giving it the power it doesn’t deserve; stop responding to people who aren’t saying anything.
It goes beyond the artistic realm, too. In every situation, there’s always someone who believes they know how to do it better. And they often don’t hesitate to offer “helpful advice”.
A friend posted about some advice she got at her church:
Oh I had a truly hard time biting my tongue today. I was speaking to a friend about Emmalyn’s sleep habits and another woman nearby interrupted to say, “Oh you need to stop that. You need to be in control, not let her control you.” Oh. My. Gawd. Where do I begin….
First off: wasn’t speaking to you.
Secondly: didn’t ask for advice.
Thirdly: she is my baby, not yours, and who are you to say who’s in control? AND this is putting aside just how plain wrong you are.
But I behaved and simply kept on speaking and then walked away.
I just don’t see how people can think a 5 month old baby is “controlling” me simply because she wants to be near me to feel safe and comforted. Oh, I fume just thinking about it.
Kudos for her ability to simply walk away.
But how do we keep that from sinking deep inside and derailing us? What has been heard often cannot be unheard, so how do we stop it in its tracks?
Combat it with truth.
The critics don’t know you better than you know yourself; they don’t have inside knowledge that has escaped you. In other words, they are not right. Their opinion is not binding on you!
You wrote your story the way it appeared to you, painted that picture as you saw it, played/wrote/performed that song as you were moved. If it’s to the best of your ability then you have nothing to worry about.
And in my experience, the critics are the unhappy ones, anyway. Their focus is on the negative (this work was great…but). There’s no joy in that. So, don’t let them steal yours!