Criticisms

I have read one or two things about how to handle criticisms of your work –mostly from authors talking about books, but you know –same feeling.

I actually don’t have a problem with people giving me criticisms. Okay. Okay. Lets be honest, sometimes I do when they are totally negative, or personal, but hey who likes to be told “you suck!”? Anyway, I’m an art student, and people seeing and judging what I do is part of the package. Hell, it’s part of class. It’s how I learn. If I couldn’t take it, then I would long be gone from the art department [let‘s forget a moment here my double majoring thing]. The thing is that I’ve learned and accepted that you can’t please everyone, and that sometimes negative reviews can bring up excellent points.

No. The [my] problem here is when you have to give criticisms to OTHERS. I’ve heard the most difficult thing is to self-criticize and analyze what works and what doesn’t with your own stuff. And sometimes that’s true. It’s too easy to hear what your mom says and believe your are a GENIUS! And that your work is a MASTERPIECE! But most of the time I’m a harsh self judge [and cuz she is my mom –I don’t believe her praise. Sorry Mom!].

But criticizing others… man, that’s difficult. I’ve gotten somehow used to do it in class. It’s something we all have to do, and that we don’t [try to] take personally. But what about when friends ask you to revise their work? And I’m not just talking art here, for some weird reason people ask me to look at projects, essays, novels, you name it. There’s usually no problem when they are good. Or when they just need some editing and polishing, BUT when they SUCK with a capital S is there a way to say it nicely? I’m of the belief that, no matter what you do, to be good you have to practice. So I advise that. That You suck? Well, keep trying! But somehow that message sounds mean –even when I try whatever means to make it less so.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen people have their dreams get crushed by a harsh critic [not my doing, I swear!], but I fear the moment I become a dream crusher. Yeah, I worry about that stuff. I mean, should I tell them the truth so they can potentially make it better? Or would that hurt them? Should I just lie? And that’s not taking into account the insecurities about my qualifications –I’m NOT qualified!. I mean what if I’m wrong?! What if I tell them they suck [as nicely as possible, of course] and I’m WRONG? Oh Questions, questions! The truth is …sometimes [most of the time] I moderate my comments depending on the person.

Does that make me a wuss? Probably.

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