Critics and criticism

Critics and criticism

The word critic is derived from a Greek word which means being able to discern. This can be interpreted as a person who is able to tell the difference between what works and what does not, what is good or bad and so on. So even though by definition critics can be good or bad, I am refering to the ones that are bad. Because it is very difficult (mostly impossible) to please everyone, there will always be people who oppose your work, don’t understand the point of what you are doing or just don’t agree with you on anything. Although criticism can be constructive, constant criticism never helps with personal or professional growth.

In my humble opinion, there are two kinds of people who criticise. The first kind follow your work, they read, listen and pay attention to what you do. They really like what you do and find your work interesting, but sometimes they don’t agree with certain things. For example, if you are a singer these people will follow all your performances and will point out when some of your songs were not as good as others. This is natural as everyone has off-days, days where they don’t work well or things go wrong. This kind of criticism does not happen often, because off-days are few and far between. These people start with a compliment and ease into the parts of your work that need improvement. They say things like, “You sung that song really well, but I have heard you sing it even better.” These people can even be your closest friends because they know you well enough to see when you do something differently. They can act like radars signalling when something goes wrong or could have been done better. They are honest in their criticism and gentle in their expression. They are trying to add the final cuts to make you a sparkling diamond rather than a raw, unfinished one. These are the people who you should be listening to when you are looking for feedback.

The second kind of criticism is from people who have a problem with you. They don’t care about what you do, they probably have not even bothered to understand what your thoughts are. They don’t have the time to go through your work or see things from your perspective. They just have a problem with you, because they have a problem with you. They disagree with all your ideas, reject all your suggestions and oppose all your decisions without consideration. This kind of criticism happens so often that you start expecting it from these people. These people will try to shoot down your performances and attempts in a public and humiliating manner. They will say things like “Your singing was ok, but XYZ sings the same song better.” They always compare you to someone else (who they like) and not to your past work, because they don’t know you or your work. This kind of criticism is the result of jealousy or a reaction to other people criticising their work. In some cases, criticising you or pulling you down gives these people a false sense of achievement and satisfaction. Whatever the reason or the result of this may be, one should not pay attention to these people. Your enemies are your enemies because they don’t understand why your friends like you. In the same way, these critics always criticise you because they don’t understand why your fans support you.

The important thing that you should not forget is, you are acting and they are reacting. You have been brave enough to try something new or present something old in a new way. You have been strong enough to show everyone what you have done, even though you know there will be mixed reactions. The people who like you, like you because you are honest and not afraid of the people who don’t like you. The first kind of critics know that you do interesting things, things worth taking notice of. They will spend time and effort going through your work, trying to feel your emotions and they will be genuine in their reactions. They will always come back and pay attention even after a few off-days, because they understand that off-days are a part of life. They don’t expect themselves to like everything you do, they just expect you to keep doing the interesting things that you do. So the thing to remember is be honest, be genuine, be natural and don’t give importance to the second type of critics.

— Mayuresh

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