Negative Criticism

I am positive I originally set out for this blog to mainly just be elongated writing pieces aboutwork I have made or someone else's work that I liked and brought enlightenment to my own practice. But I suppose it's safe to say that this post is exceptionally a different one. Still personal though, that's for sure. In fact probably the most blunt & personal yet. 


Anyone who has ever written a paper, been graded on a project, been judged by a panel of people right in front of you ...... one way or another, in life you have been verbally criticized by some other human being on this earth. Whether it was in an argument about YOU as a person and your actual personality or perhaps a piece of work you presented to a group -- you've been criticized. I find it hard to believe that there's anyone who hasn't received some form of criticism or judgment in this way before, at least by the time you're like ... 13. Besides, as self-superior human beings I think one of the things we do oh so very well is point at people and pass our own standard of judgment. That's just how most of us are without even realizing it.




Well down to the point. What do you do when you get criticized? Of course, your response will range upon a number of things. I think the main 3 factors are WHAT they're criticizing, WHO they are in relation to you and HOW they say it. So how do you take it?


You often hear "You can't please everybody" or "No one likes everything" when it comes to criticism in the artistic field but honestly I think it's safe to say that applies to everything in life. For example, there is very likely not one person on this Earth that EVERYONE 100% likes. Our differences set us apart and make us more likely to band with certain people and repelled from others. So naturally when it comes to art-making, 1 piece couldn't possibly be liked by everyone that comes across it and speaks about what they think.


And that's okay.


But what I'm talking about is what the criticizer chooses to let out of his mouth. 


I noticed that often in-person, when there's critique about say a paper, a piece of art or a film people are more likely to be a lot more respectful and gracious on their comments, even if it's a "I don't like this and this about it" AKA a negative comment. To be honest it's probably because you're in-person, face to face and if you're looking someone in the eye in a classroom telling them how you feel about their work, you probably have a lot of nerve to rawly say "Your work was a piece of shit." 


Yet that happens on the Internet ALL THE TIME and with worse grammar and spelling to add onto it. I think it's safe to say people get bold on the Internet with their opinions and comments because we're all hiding behind screens and silly screen names and most of the time no one knows or will ever know who the fuck is behind those comments.


Now trust me I have gotten negative and insulting/rude comments on my work to my face, in person. So far I usually sit there and maintain eye-contact and stay quiet. If they offer some form of suggested help or constructive criticism and show some kind of interest in speaking in means to help make my piece BETTER, I sure do listen. If they deliver a negative comment for the sake of just saying "This sucks" or "I don't like it" with no reason, no Why?, no areas for suggested improvement or just saying that they didn't like it due to their own personal judging standards then I usually remain eye contact and then I ... secretly hate them and possibly develop a grudge against them. Oh ho ho honesty there. Especially if they have a reputation for being an arrogant self-glorifying asshole. I'm like a pigeon ... I don't forget haha.


When it comes to YouTube, I'll admit and I think it's obvious that I have my moods when replying to some comments. Obviously on a good or bad day you and I both respond differently to things that happen to us. Anyway, I think the heavenly and transcending, graceful response to getting YT comments would be to reply to all the kind ones graciously and ignore all negative ones with no response. That's the big model on a gold pedestal but of course, that doesn't always happen. I used to think it's best to ignore all rude/negative/mean/condescending/know-it-all comments but lately I find myself giving them more attention and feeling more bothered by them.


At first I thought it was a phase with creating a YouTube channel -- most YouTube channel creators, at one point, get this wave of people from some very negative, hateful spectrum in the world that just bitch about your work or what they don't like or that they think you're ugly or this and that and it's vicious and stupid and hurtful. But then you eventually mature and suddenly stop caring about said people because you realize you don't even know who the fuck they are and they don't even know you at all very well either and that there's so many other much more important things going on in your life and in the world to pay attention to and worry about. But. Lately I find myself getting bothered by more negative comments, and I wonder why because ... I thought this said 'bothered' phase was over.


I was thinking it also has to do with what I'm going through personally right now. It's nothing drastic or heartbreaking or worth a documentary or anything heroic but I am aware that I'm experiencing things in life that have taught me to be stronger, less trusting and more protective of my feelings and my dignity. Maybe that's why I suddenly find myself being more snappy and quick to lash back. It might be I finally really got sick of being the forgiving, sweet, shy and soft-spoken girl I was when I was younger and somehow I've developed a habit of lashing out at anyone that I feel is trying to damper my spirit or acts condescending towards me. Because I used to never speak up but now it's almost second nature.


I'm not sure how I feel about that quite yet.


It's this weird process of trying to balance out being able to take all criticism graciously and knowing when you should speak up and stand up for yourself. I thought I had it figured out but now I'm not so sure. 


People say sometimes that criticizers HATE it when they're ignored completely because it means their comment didn't even phase you or get to you at all. The same thing goes for bullies or bad jokes -- the people doing it get tired or bored if they don't see you elicit an irritated or hurt response. At the same time if you say nothing sometimes it also feels like you're 'letting them get away with it.'


So I just feel like ... I'm not sure if I'm just learning to mature and stand up for myself more and be a bit less passive or if I'm regressing to some past version of myself that can't stand criticism and feels the need to lash out at anything that I let make myself feel inferior.


I know I don't reply to ALL negative comments I've been getting and I'm happy to say they don't always stick in my head and haunt me like they used to ... nowadays sometimes I can read them once for the first time, scrunch my face up and say Ew then forget about it within the next 5 minutes. I think what has been really getting to me is when all those "makeup guru comparisons" come around or if someone tells me they think I didn't put effort into a video where I did -- I always do. In film school I think most people you get critique from at least understand say, the difficulties of filming, of editing and all that stuff and they know those things when they critique you. But for YouTube the people commenting don't always necessarily know or have experience in what it's like to film certain types of videos or what it takes to edit and put together something and how long it takes. So perhaps that's another reason I find myself lashing out more often at YT comments -- because I feel like some people speak (or type) without even thinking about what it took to get that video into the final form that you get to watch?


Well anyway, enough of my whining.  My big summarized question for you is, how do you take negative criticism? When do you lash out (if ever) and when do you stay quiet? Or do you have a way to always respond gracefully? (If you have a secret for this please share) Does negative criticism always necessarily have to be respectful for you to listen or is negative criticism just ... well, negative criticism?


And a completely side question -- can someone tell me why the 1 negative thing that 1 person may say to us tends to stick in our minds over the 10 kind compliments from other people? Why do we setup our picnic next to the only pile of dog shit in a park filled with many other clean places to sit?


Yes I know the main answer is to just keep doing what I do because no one can please everybody ... but while the criticism is there and you are dealing with it --- how do you?

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