Almost every individual has at one or more points in their lives received criticisms from someone. People are usually more susceptible to criticism when they are in the limelight for whatever reasons be it politics, business, fashion, wealth, talent and the list is endless. The criticism can come from both close circles or far off or from both relevant and irrelevant circles.
The thing about criticism is that most people get paralysed by it. Upcoming talented artists start off ambitiously only to fizzle out because they have started receiving criticism from various quarters on their music, their dress style, their producer or even just the fact that they are breathing becomes enough to warrant massive criticism. When people have fresh ambitions, they are full of hope and motivation and usually do not anticipate the wave of criticism that will follow when they set to work on their ambitions.
Dr Brené Brown is a research professor who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of several books. She also gives talks on her areas of expertise. I found her take on the issues that make us vulnerable to be interesting. She defines her bottom line as follows: I believe that you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore . . . embrace the suck. I try to be grateful every day and my motto right now is “Courage over comfort.”
Courage over comfort
Just as Brown puts it; absolutely everyone go through moments in life that make them unmitigated vulnerable to a lot of uncomfortable feelings and situations in life; fear, doubt, hopelessness, loss, pain, humiliation and failure. Sometimes these moments are caused by or aggravated by critics. And these are the moments when people become completely paralysed by the criticism they are receiving.
In this social media era, criticism is more apparent as within seconds a wave of criticism on Twitter or Facebook or WhatsApp statuses can follow a person’s performance, appointment, inauguration, newspaper article, TV inter view, wedding, photo-shoot and even funeral. Consequently people feel suffocated when they take in all that criticism at a go; they want to hide in a cocoon and give up. In case of funerals, it is the ones remaining behind that suffer.
However, those are the moments that should build our courage. No one ever grew from a comfort zone. When people set out on a path they should be clear as to why they are on that path and realise that not everyone will understand their journey let alone like it so the criticism will come. Interestingly, the more impact people have, the more they will be hammered with criticism.
Of course sometimes people do give and receive constructive criticism but there is indeed a stark difference between someone who is trying to sincerely build someone up and someone who rants a bitter tirade laced with malice and sometimes envy. The funny thing about most critics is that they usually do not have the full story; they are not capable of doing what their subject of criticism does and mostly importantly; they are largely irrelevant to the bottom line the subject is trying to achieve. So why not your eat critics for lunch? Move forward and make things happen.
Critics have always been and will always be there.
There will always be critics even if someone was a symbol of perfection, critics will always be there; on the front row, at the back seat, whispering in the sidelines, pretending to be your friend, hiding behind the veil of social media and this shouldn’t stop anyone from making the best of their lives and attaining the goals they have set for themselves. This should not stop well-meaning projects and initiatives from happening because critics have a lot to say.
Winston Churchill said, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw rocks at every dog that barks.” (Even worse when there is a rabies outbreak, what if it is just a rabid dog?). The statement rings uniquely true for critics because one cannot afford to keep compromising themselves every time someone has something to say. There is a destination to be reached and time will not wait for critics at the backseat.
I rest my case