How do you react to criticism?
While you ponder on that let me try and explain how I feel. I promise to be completely honest with you while I do that.
I’m very sensitive when it comes to my work, especially blogging. So, I tend to go on the defensive when it is questioned or someone speaks unkindly of it. In fact, I get so upset that I tend to retract into a shell which probably isn’t good, especially if I want to improve. But I can’t help it. It is like a reflex action, far beyond my control. Hence, no matter how hard I try to be this person who is alright with critique, I actually am not.
When I had just started to blog, I would really pester S for feedback. I thought I wanted to know what I should do to improve. I also thought that I was okay with negative comments on my work which, as it turned out, wasn’t the case. I should have know because when had I ever taken negative feedback happily? Never.
Anyways, so S rose up to the occasion because he knew, still does, how much writing means to me and he was, still is, ready to do anything to help me improve myself. His feedback, though, would always start with the aspects that could be improved. The praise, if any, always came later or was skipped completely, most times. And it irked me, it irked me a lot. Every. Single. Time. Why? Because I obviously expected him to only compliment me. Don’t judge me, I’m just being honest with you here.
The point of giving feedback is to help someone do better. Agree? So, when people start with pointing out your mistakes without even appreciating the things you have perhaps gotten right, they end up missing the point completely. It needs to be handled in a much different way. Appreciation first and discussion on areas of improvement later. It cushions the blow. That way the person who has actually put in her heart and soul into the project never feels bad or judged
When I explained this to S, he, of course, made fun of me first. But ever since then he has made it a point to, well, cushion the blow always.
It suffices to say that while it might be alright to notice that the glass someone is holding is half empty, it might not be the brightest of ideas to come forth and say that bluntly.
You could start with appreciating that the glass is half full first and then go on to add that it would be even better if somehow it was filled to the brim.
Don’t you agree?
Since it has been established that I don’t react kindly to criticism, not for the lack of trying, mind you, tell me how it is with you?