When I first started writing articles I found it difficult being criticised or corrected. Instead of responding I would react to the comments and feel angry.
Overtime, I realised that my responses were reactive instead of proactive. There was a lesson here that I needed to learn if I was to continue with my passion of writing articles and quotes.
The other thing I realised was that some people will put their own interpretation on your article or quote. Instead of seeking clarification on what you mean, they immediately go into defence mode and verbal attack you, not criticise but literally have a go at you.
Maybe they believe they are offering constructive criticism but seriously saying things like, ‘you are shameful’ or my personal favourite ‘you must be a hateful person’ wouldn’t be considered constructive in anyone’s language.
Then there are the people who love to tell you about any spelling or grammar errors you have made. I don’t have an issue with this; all I ask is extend some common courtesy and tell me in a private message.
These are my strategies that I have put into place when handling criticism, although I have been known to occasionally slip up! I’m still learning!
‘Don’t mind criticism. If it’s untrue, disregard it. If it’s unfair, keep from irritation. If it’s ignorant, smile. If it’s justified, it’s not criticism, learn from it.’
Review your work – and then review it again. Get someone else to proof read your writings. Try to ensure that there is little for people to criticise and if by some chance a mistake falls through the cracks; don’t take offense, after all we are all human and make mistakes.
Ask for clarification – I admit this is the one that I struggled with the most as it goes against everything I have learned about effective communication, ‘if you disagree with a person’s viewpoint, then back up your comment with facts to support your claim’ and ‘as a listener it’s your responsibility to ask the speaker for clarification’. Nowadays many people don’t adhere to this principal and that’s when things can get difficult.
If you don’t understand or think that their comment is unfair, then you ask for clarification. They have to defend their opinion instead of you having to defend your article. Putting the onus back on them to explain will hopefully bring about an honest open discussion that benefits you both.
Do apologise – So you made a mistake and there’s a typo error in your article, take responsibility for it. The best way to stop some critics is to admit your error and thank them. This takes all the wind out of them and leaves no opportunity for a reply.
Offer no response – Sometimes it’s best to just remain silent. Especially, if the comment is a verbal attack on you the person. In this situation, the temptation to react with equal negatively can be overwhelming but by not responding you are effectively cutting off any type of argument.
Say thanks – Thanking them for the comment/feedback is more for you than them. It shows you are mature enough to accept the criticism and lets them know that you haven’t reacted to it. It’s about your own self-respect and worth not theirs.
‘Learn to handle criticism. Let it develop you instead of discourage you’
At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone and people will always find fault in your work. Stand by your words, own them and don’t let others discourage you.
The most admired and respected people are the ones who continue despite criticism, for they see it as an opportunity to learn and grow from.