Why Your Critics Are Right - And What They're Really Trying to Tell You Posted on 22 Jun 21:53 , 0 comments

Think about the sun for a moment. It has a big job, you know. Everyday it shines bright, never faltering, lighting up a thousand skies. Clouds may gather and winds might erupt, but standing firmly behind it all is the sun, ever-bright.

With such a big and all-important job, wouldn't everyone be grateful? Without it, there would be no food, no warmth - literally and quite figuratively, nothing would or could exist. In reality, how often do you hear "It's way too hot", or "I'm thirsty". Even in the song 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' you will find a gripe about the sun. The nerve.

Let's face it. Everybody is a critic and everyone has a critic. The latter usually only becomes painfully obvious once you've made the decision to step up and try something new, whether you try a unique hairstyle or start a new automobile company. Once you show up wearing pink at a purple party, your behind is going to get talked about.

The key to surviving harsh words is to realize that inside every criticism is a heartfelt compliment. Maybe your execution left something to be desired, but you stepped up when no one else would or even could. Perhaps your last cupcake batch left the kids running for the outhouse, but they know you can do better, and will probably (eventually) forget that incident with the last batch ever happened.

The other key to dealing with critics is to recognize them before they even turn the corner or before they start doing what they do. I've experienced three types - the sniper, the shark, and the silent. If you know them and their motives, you're halfway home.

The Sniper - This critic is the most obvious and rather violent in his tactics. He's the life of the party, or has convinced himself that he is. He has annoyingly powerful lungs or a website with lots of followers - whatever his tool, he will use it to cut you down. God help you if you stumble, the kill will be messy and merciless. They've adopted a routine with you against your wishes - you create, I tear it and you down

What he's really trying to tell you - You are unbelievably creative, innovative and dedicated. You're also a little naive and incredibly vulnerable. If I had even half the talent you had, I'd make sure I did the utmost to protect myself and my image.  

The Shark - Oh dear. The shark might be the hardest to cope with because they have some of the best camouflage game. She shows up as your friend, confidant, hairdresser - anyone who places herself in the position of assistance. As in, of course I want to make you look/feel/be your best kind of assistance. She's there, egging you on, pushing you out into the spotlight and holding your jacket in the wings. The next morning when the dismal reviews of your performance make the front page, she will gleefully agree with the critique and add her own, making sure to emphasize that you were never really cut out for 'it' anyway.

What she's really trying to tell you - You are brave, charismatic and successful in your own right. I was hoping some of that would rub off on me, but all it did was make me feel worse, so now I have to bring you back down to my level.

The Silent - These gals and fellows are the hardest to notice or even understand but they are there, and you will usually find them in high-stakes environments. He has been typically pre-annointed as the chosen one - the smartest, most athletic - the ultimate in talent, whether it's actually true or not remains to be seen and even they are painfully aware of it. You show up on the scene trying to be smart, unique, talented, or just a really decent person and he will give you the coldest of cold shoulders. It will almost seem as if you are invisible to him. You could be introduced to him twenty times on twenty separate occasions and it will appear as if he has never once laid eyes on you in the past. Alternately he will do his best to criticize you harshly if he feels challenged and you may never understand where all of the hostility originated.

What he's really trying to tell you - You are making me confront the fact that I may not be as special or as talented as I was made to believe. You are very sure of yourself for absolutely no apparent reason and it is extremely bothersome. 

The best and most helpful critic is objective and her motives are clear. Criticism is one of those necessary parts of life that may never bring us high levels of comfort, but always consider the source - take what you need and leave the rest.


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