How To Take Criticism Like a Professional
Updated: Feb 16
For some reason, many people, including myself, may find it difficult to endure criticism. Whether it is constructive, offensive, or just plain negative, sensitive people may have a hard time receiving it.
In my query to my former master, he says: "The fear of criticism lies in the fear of being rejected, a fear that may be the most elementary in the human mind." Do you think it makes sense? I think it does. Rejection is difficult, especially from those who are dear to us: family, friends, partners, and so on.
The fear of rejection can lead to many thoughts in our minds... Some of which are true, some of which are false. Being able to distinguish between them and not take things personally is key to being a professional man or woman.
Let's explore these thoughts... "What if I'm not good enough?" "What if I do not deserve to be loved?" "What if I am a complete failure?" Pay attention to these thoughts and confront them! Doubt them! You are not your thoughts! If you think of numbers regularly, surely you are not a set of equations yourself...
In philosophy, criticism is inevitable, like a modern man's need to pay his bills. As a public philosopher, don't just expect everyone to constantly praise you for your high intelligence.
Otherwise, you'll quickly be disappointed!
Your readers, new or otherwise, have a set of preferences of their own, which may be different from yours. You might write something you believe to be innovative, insightful, and profound, only to find that your work is treated poorly.
Make no mistake! You are not your own work! You are not your writings! When you can improve and learn from your faults, you can better yourself regardless of the nature of your current work! People's logic does not always rest on an ad hominem methodology!
In other words, they do not necessarily criticize you as a person, but rather your actions, your products, and so on... Even your competency. Do try to relax.... Especially if you're doing a good and hard work.
Practically, there is no need to take things so personally. Practically, there's no need to take things so sensitively. Sure, some of you are sensitive, including myself. However, please take into consideration that a portion of that sensitivity is in your way! In your way to become greater in your work! On your way to becoming a true master of your craft!
When a reader, even a loyal one, looks at your articulate and carefully planned work and disregards it as "not interesting,"... You do not give in to the misconceptions of your emotions! Don't give in so easily to insult.
Why? Because a good worker, a good writer, and a good philosopher are all true professionals.
Think of the possibilities! Think of the larger picture! Criticize your own thinking so it will not get in the way of your plans and ambitions, your hopes and dreams!
You are going to get rejected, one way or another. It's an inevitable possibility. If you want to know what an "inevitable possibility" is, look it up on Philosocom, I wrote about it. Consider looking things up in general here.
To be professional is to distinguish between business and personal feelings. So what if you're insulted sometimes? Is a bad word or two really that bad? Is getting hurt verbally, that bad? Does it pose a great danger just because we might feel it is? Look beyond your anxieties; look beyond yourself! External reality is not the same as subjective reality.
You might feel something is "true", like the feeling that everyone hates you. Ask yourself then if that's really true. If every single person among the billions of humans on Earth hates you as a person. Do not submit, for heaven's sake, or you'll find yourself living through the hell devised by your own high sensitivity.
Based on my experience with sensitive folk, let me say this: I strive to look at the bigger picture and not write propaganda. Sensitivity has a functionality all its own. It helps us to better understand other people on an emotional level; it can bring us the joys of love, empathy, and affection.
It allows us to help those who are dear to us when they are having a hard time emotionally and be with them when they experience hardship and distress.
But no. It does not mean sensitivity is a complete plus. Sensitivity is synonymous with vulnerability, dear readers. The more sensitive you are, the more vulnerable you are to insult and injury. No one is obliged to "walk on eggshells". Especially strangers.
If we want to reduce the suffering caused, and if we want to improve ourselves as individuals and as professionals, then we better consider reducing this delicate area of our personality. We cannot control everyone's reactions, regardless of who they are.
Therefore, to be in a constant state of escape from their reactions is to deny a basic element of reality to other people: The fact that pain, regardless of its nature, is an inevitable part of life! Try to reduce it to a minimum if you will, but in the end, it is not realistic to believe that a life free of pain is possible. Not when you live and interact with others, at the very least.
Why? Because when you are a professional, you do not only live for yourself. You live for your work; you live for your superiors, if you have any. And lastly, you work for your customers. Your readers, paying or not, are customers, and as the cliche goes, "The customer is king". As a public writer, you do not write for the shelf. You write for others.
I write about my personal life with the knowledge that it will be spoken about by strangers. I don't mind because I use that aspect to provide examples of what I talk about. Judgement? Criticism? It used to be hard for me... until I grew up and realized that my high sensitivity was in the way. Why would I cherish it?
In my way to what? In my path to greater relevance! In my path to the greater exposure of my craft on the world stage! When I write about myself, the point is to walk the talk and to inspire you. I am no longer the hermit I used to be. I talk to strangers with the awareness that they might hurt my feelings.
I don't mind that much anymore! Simply because... these are just feelings. There are greater things at play. Even after a panic attack I may experience, I will return to my craft as usual. I look at my emotions, and I strive to put them in their place!
My occupation and my craft are more important than me. Consider following my example. I made my mistakes. I want to learn from them. This isn't a hobby; I treat it like a job. I treat it like it deserves.