When I was in photography school, the critique, or "crit" as students liked to call it, was a source of much stress and anxiety. I'd display the work I'd spent hours printing to perfection, then wait to hear all the ways it was not, in fact, perfect. I'm not being entirely fair to the process by boiling it down to that one statement. The truth is, though, it felt that way in the moment. Another fun fact is that even as a non-traditional student (read: older), I lacked confidence. Read More
Do you struggle with your confidence? Receiving criticism, then, is like pulling one more Jenga block out of your already shaky confidence tower. When your confidence wanes, your sensitivity to criticism increases. This vicious cycle of lacking confidence and fearing criticism keeps you stuck! I'm going to be straight with you here—you need to get over your sensitivity to criticism. Why?
Your Fear of Criticism is Holding You Back.
It's holding you back in your life, your relationships, and your business/work. If you want to run a business, criticism is inevitable. If you create anything in your life and share it with the world, somebody is going to criticize.
If criticism feels like an open wound that takes forever to heal, you're likely to avoid it at all costs. This means not asking for feedback when you really need to identify your blindspots.
View Criticism in a Positive Light (WHAT?!?)
Is it possible for you to change your perspective of criticism? Can you think about what you can learn from it? Before you react, what if you took a second to separate the critical words from your worth as a person?
What would you do differently if you prepared yourself for criticism, but didn't let it stop you? Would you start writing that book? Would you try a new recipe and invite a friend over for dinner? Would you put your artwork online? Would you...gasp...dance in public? Ok, maybe not.
I doubt you'll ever love criticism, but you can view it as useful. I'm not talking about mean-spirited trolling criticism. That kind of criticism isn't worth your emotional energy. I'm talking about the kind of criticism that can help you improve.
As much as I dreaded them at the time, I credit those art school critiques with helping me handle criticism. By expecting criticism, I was better prepared for it. I also learned to hold the "final" version of my work with loose attachment. There's almost always an Image1_final_finalv2_finalfinal_FINAL.jpg version.
Is a fear of criticism impacting some area of your life? If so, how can you reframe it so you can move forward?