Dealing With Public Criticism of Your Spiritual or Creative Work
You open yourself up to an interesting segment of the population.
I like to call them haters!
Haters come in a few different varieties…
In a nut shell haters are simply the people who judge, oppose or blatantly criticize your work.
Rather than encouraging you to keep going, or thanking you for your efforts, they like to point out flaws in what you’re doing, loudly share what they don’t like or what they think you could doing better.
Sometimes haters are people who simply cannot be happy for another’s success… They’re threatened in some way by you stepping into your power and shining your light in the world, so they consciously, or unconsciously try to poke holes in your aura, and pop your bubble!
Being a hater is not exactly jealousy. It’s more about knocking others down or exposing flaws. Haters aren’t just strangers on the internet either. They can be friends, family, supervisors, co-workers, neighbors, you name it.
Many people don’t even realize they’re doing it, or how what they think is “constructive criticism” is actually doing more harm than it is helping you.
Many people think that poking holes in your plan, shining light on your flaws and misgivings, and sharing with you all the things they don’t like or don’t agree with about your work is helpful…
If you’re one of these people I’ll let you in on a secret.
It’s not helpful!
“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.” -Dave Willis
Why Are You Attracting Haters?
If you’re attracting haters, and people who are criticizing what you’re doing… You’re not alone.
The thing is… Its easy to attract haters.
Just have an opinion, stat taking action, step into creating something you’re passionate about and being authentically you and you’ll likely attract haters in all directions.
Honestly there’s some good in this.
If you have people criticizing your work (and believe me, I definitely do too)… it just means you are actually reaching people!
If no one hates your work, that probably means no one is even seeing or noticing it!
“You can’t reach your potential without haters.” -Grant Cardone
How to Deal With Haters and Criticizers
Although haters are a normal part of being a creator… Their feedback can still sting.
This is why it’s essential to have the tools to deal with haters. Whether they are anonymous, at work, comments on your social media, or even at your holiday dinners, these points will help you deal with any negative or difficult feedback that you may get.
You Can’t Take it Personally
Life is about choices. There will always be someone around who is mean, cynical, or rude. You get to choose not only who you listen to, but how to respond to what you hear. Just like their hate is their response to who you are.
It Absolutely Isn’t About You
The foundation of hate is fear. Anyone who hates is also afraid. That doesn’t make it easier to take, but it does give you enough context to understand that it’s not you, it’s them. A common example is the co-worker who is quick to say no to every new idea you have. It’s not that they don’t like your ideas necessarily, it’s most likely a fear of not being in control, of uncertainty, or of being passed over.
If someone is criticizing your work, its probably because they're taking no action, and creating nothing. Its far easier to criticize another than to actually create something.
Choose To Not Engage
Some haters are people we know. Well. The people who know you well enough to know your vulnerabilities and don’t mind exploiting them are a particularly difficult breed of hater. When a friend or family member pushes your buttons and you get angry, it’s because they are touching on your own fear. Often, the fear is that they might be right, or that other people see something about yourself that you don’t like.
When this happens, the best response is not to engage, let the anger pass and then make a mental note. Doing this often enough allows you to create a mental buffer around this particular fear. With a buffer you can offer yourself compassion rather than internalizing someone else’s negative feedback.
Recognize the Negativity Bias
It’s a fact of human nature that we give greater weight to negative feedback than to positive. When something goes well for us, we tend to give credit to external influences (I just happened to be in the right place at the right time). When something goes poorly, we tend to give credit to internal influences (I never should have tried that on my own).
Try to recognize when this is happening and honestly assess what part you played in the good outcomes and what parts were out of your control in the bad.
Consider the Source
If someone is criticizing you, do they know you? Have they even met you? Do they know about the events that preceded your choice? Do they understand your value system? Do they have all the information?
Also, are they delivering their feedback constructively? Or is their premise that you are flawed or wrong?
It’s important to consider the source and the motivation of that source. We need constructive criticism to grow and learn. We don’t need attacking or shaming criticism. Give yourself permission to be discerning about whose energy you let in. If you don’t know them and they don’t have your best interests at heart, don’t give them any space in your heart or mind.
Focus on Your V.I.P.’s
You get to choose who you surround yourself with, and who you listen to. Choose to listen to the “V.I.P’s”…
V.I.P.’s are the people who love everything you create, who see the good in what you’re doing, and who vocally encourage, uplift and celebrate your work rather than highlighting flaws. Once you identify this group of people, choose to weight their feedback and opinions more than others.
If a random YouTube commenter says your voice is annoying… Let it brush off your shoulder, and remember the group of people who love you, love your message, and love your voice. If you need constructive advice, ask your V.I.P.’s.
Find people who speak from their heart – that’s the kind of feedback that will help you grow.
Remember that Hate is Contagious
Sometimes, no matter whether you have your emotional energy shield up or your having such a good day that you feel like titanium to negativity, something is going to get in. Despite your best intentions to use these tips, something is going to sting or make you angry. A person makes one passing comment that is hate filled and hits you the wrong way, and you’re thinking about it for the rest of the day. Or longer. This one hateful comment is contagious and spreads throughout your body and life. Do your best to cleanse yourself of that energy as quickly as you can.
Remember What You’ve Done Well
Sit down, breathe deeply, and try to think of as many good qualities about yourself as you can. Make a mental list of all the times in the past week you helped someone. Or a list of all the things you’re proud of.
Do something to counter the anger or fear that’s being triggered in you. This is a good reminder that just because another judges you doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
“Sage ya later haters.”
Finally, remember that the only way haters win is when you let it get to you, and stop creating. So show yourself some love, by patting yourself on the back, remind yourself that you're doing great things in the world… And keep going.
Because the world needs your unique work, and color of light.
So turn away from the haters, refocus on love, and let your light shine!