I learned a valuable lesson today, about dealing with criticism.
It started when one of my blog posts from last week attracted some unexpected feedback. It wasn’t exactly what you would call criticism – more of a misunderstanding. But nevertheless, it sent me spiralling into a nose dive. Fortunately I didn’t quite crash and burn, but I felt pretty fed up for a while.
This is not the first time I’ve reacted in this way – turning the proverbial mole hill into a mountain.
Thanks to the support and advice of my friends, though, I’ve been able to re-frame that experience, so that I can behave differently next time. So I thought I would share with you what I learned, in case you find yourself in a similar situation.
If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime
It’s entirely up to me, whether or not I allow people to comment on my blog posts. One friend said that she prefers to turn comments off, rather than run the risk of her blog posts attracting any negative feedback.
If you allow people to comment, there’s always the possibility that someone will misunderstand what you wrote and take umbridge with it, or that someone will quite simply disagree with you. It’s a free country. If you give people the right to comment, you can’t really turn round and complain if what they say isn’t what you want to hear.
It’s not me, it’s you
Another friend said that, if someone criticises you or leaves a comment that seems to be negating what you’ve written, it’s more than likely that it’s about their stuff, and not about you at all. So don’t take it personally.
If you’re investing in your greatness (i.e. shining your light) and expressing an opinion, it could press some people’s buttons – and even upset or anger them in some way – in which case, they might strongly disagree with you in their comments. Or they might simply say something that you feel is inappropriate. As I said in the previous point, though, if you choose to allow comments, then you have to accept the consequences.
It’s not you, it’s me
I also realised that I have a choice, as to how I react to someone’s feedback. Nobody can make me feel upset – only I can do that. So, even if someone were to leave a comment that was highly critical of me, personally – or used foul or inappropriate language – I can choose not to react.
I can choose to say: “that’s interesting”, and get on with my day.
This time, I allowed myself to feel upset. The next time, though, I can remember the lesson I learned today, and react differently. And I can do that in any situation where someone appears to be giving me a bad review – not just on my blog.