You Don’t Have To Accept Bad Criticism
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 3, 2011
Some time ago I’d written a post about something local on this blog. I shared it with some local people just to spread the word. None of them commented on it, which is the norm it seems. However, one wrote me back on Twitter and his comment was “Man, that’s an ugly webpage.”
What the heck was that? Where did that come from? This is a guy who 1) doesn’t have a webpage; 2) has a Blogger blog in green and brown that he’s never tried to sculpt; 3) basically writes one post a year on that blog, usually when he’s mad; 4) couldn’t say a thing when I asked him why he said it and then; 5) never responded once again when I said it’s a blog, not a webpage, but it suits my purpose.
All of us are going to be criticized in some fashion at some point in our lives; some of us hear it daily. There’s nothing wrong with people who are giving you advice that might help you as long as you’re ready to hear it; I’m one of those people who doesn’t want it unless I’m asked unless it’s something really egregious like a misspelled word or a phrase someone doesn’t understand. And, for a blog, there’s nothing wrong with giving our opinions in public, especially once an article it out there, as long as you don’t get personal and keep things confined to the article in question.
However, there’s a lot of bad criticism out there, things that people say with no intention except to cut other down. They’re not trying to help; they’re not trying to be constructive. They’re only trying to build themselves up by whatever means necessary, and if they can take it out on you at a moment’s notice, so be it.
I remember years ago when I shared a portion of my book early on with someone I was playing email chess again. His response back to me was “have you ever read a book”? That was it; nothing else. It hurt; I won’t lie. I stopped writing… for about an hour. Then I was back into my writing mode because my mind realized his criticism meant nothing. One, nothing constructive; two, he’d never written anything himself. And three, of course I’d read books; how did that help push anything positive through?
If you put yourself out there and ask others for opinions on something, you obviously open yourself to someone busting on you for something. Sometimes what you get back makes sense; sometimes what you get back in invective. You don’t have to take that; no one has to take bad criticism.
For the record, bad criticism means there’s no attempt to give a person an opportunity to improve in any way. Bad criticism is “I hate your webpage”. Good criticism is “Having light green against a pink background is hard to read and might be hard for other people to see easily”. Bad criticism is “I hate what you wrote here; your opinion stinks”. Good criticism is “I disagree with your point because….”
Back in September I had kind of a row with someone on this blog when I wrote a post questioning modesty of today’s kids and blaming it on parents. Parents tend to get defensive because they say it’s hard controlling their kids; I don’t tend to let them off the hook. Yet, parents also take things like this personal even when it’s not against them specifically. Bad criticism is “you don’t know what it’s like being a parent”; phooey. Good criticism… well, in this case I’m not sure what good criticism is. It’s a post where people either agree or disagree, but I’m not sure it’s a post where anyone can support the argument for what some might deem salacious outfits by young girls and not being able to control what they wear. That’s what parenting is supposed to be, folks.
The general point is that no one should allow the potential of bad criticism stop them from doing or saying what they feel is necessary, as long as they’re prepared to accept the consequences of those actions or feelings. And if there are consequences and you feel you’re in the right, then go ahead and keep doing it; unless someone else is paying you, you really don’t have to acquiesce to bad criticism. Most people who criticize you have nothing to offer other than the criticism.
Anyone want to criticize that? lol