In the 9 years I’ve been a beauty blogger (I’ve been running a lot of websites in the past years before I’ve found my true calling – not all of them are still online), I’ve received a lot of criticism:
- You should stick to neutral eyeshadows. Blues and greens aren’t a good look on anyone.
- Your photos are horrible.
- You’re a sellout (when I rave about a moisturizer I love).
- You’re obviously in the pay of Big Pharma (when I dare to point out that not all chemicals are bad for you).
- I don’t like your face. You’re ugly.
It doesn’t matter that every day I received emails and comments from women all over the world thanking me for giving them the confidence to wear a bold red lipstick in public for the first time, helping them treat the acne that had been taking over their skin for years and share my tricks to create the perfect skincare routine for your needs.
It’s the few negative comments that stick in your head. They cut you open like a knife in the heart. It hurts.
Criticism sucks. Even when it’s constructive.
Your first instinct is to deny the criticism and insult the person who dished it out to you.
That only creates more drama, pain and suffering for everyone involved.
Stay classy. Here are my tips for dealing with criticism like a pro:
1. Admit It Hurts
It doesn’t matter if you receive a scathing comment from a troll or a constructive criticism dished out in a caring and compassionate manner. Either way, it hurts.
Criticism feels like disapproval. Rejection. Condemnation. It’s a personal attack that triggers your fight or flight response. Letting your mind running away with it is the worst thing you can do in this situation.
Instead, take a a few deep, mindful breathes.Bad feelings last only a few fleeting minutes when you allow yourself to feel them fully.
2. Acknowledge Your CriticBeing criticised is no fun, but neither is giving criticism (unless you’re a troll).
No one wants to hurt your feelings, make you cry like a fountain or be attacked in retaliation.
Unless you’re being badly insulted for no good reason (in which case, you need to stand up for yourself), acknowledge your critic.
Thank him or her for their feedback, tell them that you’ve heard what they said and promise them that you will think about it.
There’s usually no need to reply straight away. You’ll be able to have a much more positive and constructive conversation with your critic when you acknowledge him gracefully and take a day or two to mull things over in your head.
3. Consider The Source
So, you’ve accepted criticism gracefully. Brava!
Now, it’s time to think over what you’ve been told and see if there’s any truth in it. The easiest way to do that is to consider the source.
For example, when I decided to move to London and pursue my dream of inspiring and empowering women with my writing, I was called selfish by a close family member.
She had always done what others expected of her and believed that following your true calling was a recipe for failure. I’d be back in Senigallia within 6 months, she predicted.
Like Brene Brown would say, she wasn’t in the arena. She had never tried to follow her dreams, so her criticism didn’t count. I didn’t let it hold me back.
But when my fellow beauty bloggers criticised my photos? I knew they had a point. Unlike me, they had taken the time to read the manual and play around with their cameras. They learned how to create shots that catapulted their blogs to the next level. My lack of photographic skills, on the other hand, was holding me back.
It was hard to hear it. Even more so because I’m a writer and believe that people should only care about what I write, not how pretty the photos that complement the articles are. But that’s now how it works in the real world. Taking their advice helped both me and my blog grow.If you're not in the arena getting your butt kicked too, I'm not interested in your feedback - Brene Brown If you're not in the arena getting your butt kicked too, I'm not interested in your feedback - Brene Brown Click To Tweet
4. Make A Game Plan
If you think your critic has a valid point, come up with a plan to address the criticism.
For example, when I realised I needed to up my photography game, I asked a close friend with a passion for photography to help me pick a bridge camera that took decent shots even in automatic mode and give me a few lessons on how to use its other features in case I needed them.
If I’m working on a special project that requires breathtakingly beautiful pictures, I outsource the task and hire a photographer. It’s not as expensive as you may think.Admitting your weaknesses and insecurities and doing your best to improve is an opportunity for growth. Take it.
5. Don’t Take It Personally
Criticism hits right at our insecurities and weaknesses. It makes us feel deficient, like there’s something inherently wrong with us.
If the critic isn’t in the arena, chances are he or she is an unhappy soul who gets a kick out of hurting others. Misery loves company.
If the critic is in the arena, they don’t mean any harm. When they criticise your photographic skills or your tendency to over-react, they’re not criticising you as a person. They’re simply giving you constructive feedback to help you grow and improve.
We all have flaws and shortcomings. But they aren’t you. They don’t define you. Don’t take them personally.There's nothing wrong with you. You're just human, gorgeous.
Over to you, now. How do you deal with criticism? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below.