M.D. Johnson is a poet, playwright, author, and blogger. She has a BA in English and a Masters of Management in Business.
Critics, haters and constant debaters, maybe the idea of them turns your stomach and your smile upside down, but if you look at them from another perspective, the mention of them should do quite the opposite. You should perhaps think of them as honest fans. Usually a fan will tell you how great and wonderful your work is, and how much they love it, whereas the critic, hater and constant debater will do quite the opposite. This is the very reason why you should value them. Their honesty, and critique or criticizing of your work (if constructive opposed to hateful) should tell you or give you an inkling of how to make your work or craft better.
Think about it. Time and energy are things you can’t make or get back, unlike money. For a critic or hater to invest their precious time and energy and take time out of their day to tell you how crass or vile your work is, is a testament to the fact they perhaps believe you could do better or improve, that they could be so honest with you and demean you as a human being, because they see something in you of value, otherwise, why would they waste their time and energy? Your work must have inspired or moved them in some way after all, to take action, to tell you about yourself, or more directly how they personally feel about you or your work.
The goal of any writer or artist should be to evoke some form of feeling or action on the part of their audience, to expect it to be all good with everyone would be a discredit and demerit to yourself, you should always expect the bad with the good, to think you can please everyone –is insane. I think it’s better and more creditable to say you evoke a full spectrum of feelings or emotions across the board when it comes to your audience, this means your art is versatile or diverse, both meaningful and dire, which may make you somewhat controversial or attract more attention to reach a wider audience. Not everyone likes Picasso and not everyone likes Da Vinci, would they have ever evolved or held any form of merit without a critic?
Critics, haters and constant debaters make you creditable and relevant. For them to acknowledge that they viewed your work and have an opinion of it, is simply acknowledging you, your existence, -your work. Who doesn’t long to have their art or works noticed, otherwise, what was the point of sticking out your neck anyway or taking a chance? We seek acknowledgement at the very least, if not praise.
Critics, haters and constant debaters help you sharpen your skills, as far as how and where you might improve, what you should never attempt to do again, or if it boils down to a debate, at least you will find out if you can carry your own and to what lengths you can defend your work. If we received praise all the time, wouldn’t our heads simply explode, wouldn’t we become pompous and overbearing, perhaps believing our art or works are so great, that there wouldn’t be room for improvement or to make them greater?
I take critics and haters with a grain of salt. You have to ask the questions: where is this criticism coming from, -a place of hate or a place of sincerity? Why is or would this person want to tell me this? Who is this person, do they have expertise on this genre, what exactly makes them an expert on my art or works, what is their level of education or knowledge when it comes to my work? If they have no credibility or expertise whatsoever, and just want to throw rocks because they are mad at the world or hate themselves or their lives, let them… it shouldn’t have any bearing on you or what you do. Maybe your works hit a nerve in them they wanted to remain buried, that they presumed no one was aware of, and they lashed out at you because of it, simply because you were available or accessible. Just as author, Don Miguel Ruiz stated, “You shouldn’t take anything personally,” that “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
To recap, you should love critics, haters and constant debaters because:
1. They make you relevant
2. They give you acknowledgement
3. They make you credible
4. They sharpen your skills
5. They help you improve
6. They give you edge in the sense you aren’t just loved, but loathed, which gives you versatility in the emotion your works exude or evoke, which makes you well-rounded
7. They donate their precious time and energy to you
8. They probably see something of value in you, to want to challenge or criticize you, to perhaps do better
9. If they are credible or an expert, perhaps the critique they give is beneficial
10. They are honest with you and provide a unique perspective
If this isn’t enough to make you love your critics, haters and constant debaters, then “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” In any arts affiliated industry, whether you are a singer, writer, artist, dancer, culinary artist, etc., having critics comes with the game. Just play it better.
Ruiz, Don Miguel. (2003). The Four Agreements. Retrieved February 28, 2017 from https://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488298438&sr=8-1&keywords=the+four+agreements
Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on March 01, 2017:
The best fan I had was one who told me when something sucked. You can tell when people are giving you empty platitudes, and it is really irritating, as well as being very unhelpful. I enjoyed reading your thoughts.