Objective criticism is warranted in relationships such as teacher, supervisor, or parent. But most criticism these days is subjective and unsolicited. When you create or offer something, someone is bound to throw their two cents in.
The important thing to discern is by whose standard and perspective the criticism is based. If you create a new piece of art, it
would seem natural to receive feedback in terms of your body of work. For instance, I might celebrate and share what I like in terms of the evolution of my friend Eve's art baskets.
Most criticism, however, is subjective in that it is offered from the perspective of the person giving it. They are expressing themselves and what they agree with. So it is subjective and self-centered as in: "I really like this," or "I hate it when people..."
Subjective criticism is a natural extension of sharing what music, movie, or food people like. Understanding and expressing what people like is especially important when developing their independent personality in adolescence and early adulthood.
But when this subjective criticism extends to the new thing you have created or new aspect of yourself you are sharing, it can become painful and destructive. When you create something and share it with the world, you become very vulnerable. You are putting your heart on the line.
You are also vulnerable about what you believe regarding the new aspect of yourself or new thing you have created. It is a time when many get discouraged and give up on their new thing after getting criticized.
So it may not be in your best interest to expose yourself to subjective criticism from someone that has not taken the time to know you and criticizes solely in terms of whether it reinforces what he/she likes or not.
And when you inevitably do hear subjective criticism, realize it is about them and not about you. And then do not personalize it or make it about you.
So ask yourself next time you consider sharing, "Is the person able to get outside him/herself and celebrate my new creation or aspect of myself in terms of me?
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.