I’ve been thinking about criticism over the last week and I stumbled upon this useful little youtube video. Yes it’s a Marie Forleo video and I know her presenting style can be quite polarising BUT even if you don’t like her presenting style this video might still be worthy of your 7 & 1/2 minutes.
My main take out was the everything that you love, let that be:
- a novel
- a restaurant
- a person
is not liked by someone else. I found that so very powerful. It’s obvious – as most powerful things tend to be – but it’s not something we think of when we or something that we made is criticised. We understand that not everyone will love our partner or our best friend (and more fool them really) but when someone doesn’t like us or criticises something that we find personal like our clothing style or something we created, we sometimes feel that we failed, that there must be something wrong with us. Nothing is wrong with you. That one person just doesn’t love who you are / what you’re like / what you’ve created. You love your partner or best friend but that doesn’t mean they love everything you love. You probably have a novel that seems connected to your soul and their response is ‘meh’ or a dress that you adore which doesn’t receive more than an eyebrow raise and a suggestion that you might try something else. It doesn’t stop them loving you. We want everything we make to be loved by those we love but that’s not how it works. They might not like it, it might not be their thing but that doesn’t make it unloveable. It’s just not loved by them.
I believe criticism is necessary and useful. It helps us grow, improve or sometimes just understand ourselves and others better. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been hurt by it in the past and I’ve seen plenty of other people suffer. Last week I attended a writing conference to help with the novel I’m writing. Part of that conference involved feedback from professionals within the industry. Personally I didn’t receive the glowing praise and the begging for more that we all secretly hope will occur but overall I was happy with my feedback, I even received a compliment which I wasn’t expecting. Someone else that I met while I was there didn’t fare as well though. She had all of her hopes pinned to this one particular professional loving her work and well, that professional didn’t love it. It wasn’t that the professional didn’t like her personally or that they might not have shared a love of Harry Potter or sushi or pink toenails, but they didn’t both love her work. The writer was upset about this and I’ve been thinking about her since. Thoughts like:
- She’s been writing for longer so what hope do I have?
- She’s doing a degree in writing, I’m so far below her.
- Is her stumble sounding the gong on my writing dreams?
but then I thought. It’s not that her work is intrinsically ‘bad’ or ‘unloveable’. That one person didn’t love it. That professional wasn’t the right fit for that work. Hopefully the criticism that was given can be used to help improve the work but ultimately there are other people out there who will love her work. We just have to find those people.
If we create something and share it, the next step is not people adoring you and your work. Yes, some of those first people to experience it might love it, you might get lucky, but sometimes you need to do more work to find and attract those who will love your creation. Understanding that it’s no different than finding others who also love your favourite tv show helps to take the sting and disappointment away from hearing from others that they don’t love your creation. Others will.
Make something you love and there will be others out there who will love it too.