People hear the word “criticism” and they almost automatically flinch. Their hearts beat a little faster and they prepare themselves for the worst. It’s a safe bet that those same people never looked up synonyms for the word “criticism.” If they did, they’d see words like appreciation, appraisal and observation; none of which carry the same negative connotation.
Who doesn’t want their work to be appreciated? There is great value in the appreciation of a work. Think about the art world. If someone said they appreciate your work of art, would you cringe? Of course not, because even though they didn’t tell you what they appreciate about your work yet, you assume it’s a good thing. And, your assumption is based solely on your interpretation of the word.
Why can’t we see criticism the same way? In today’s society, people are so afraid of the word criticism. Why doesn’t it offer the same happy feelings that the word appreciation gives? If someone tells you they love your work, don’t you want to know why? If someone says they hate your work, don’t you still want to know why? There is so much that you can learn from someone’s opinion or critique of your work.
Let’s go back to the appreciation of your work of art. Let’s say that person explained to you that what he actually appreciates about your work is the fact that it reminds him of a sad, very emotional time in his life. Your assumption just hit a brick wall. Your work is supposed to represent the most joyful moment of your life and here this person feels sad by looking at it. But, this is his opinion.
This is his critique of your work based on his life experiences. No one on this earth has had the same experiences. We all see things differently and, therefore, we all have different reactions. This can be applied to every facet of life. People have different experiences and those experiences create different reactions. Since when did that become a bad thing?
Instead of hearing the word criticism and immediately cringing, try to think of it in a different light. You are gaining knowledge. You are gaining an insight into someone else’s world. He is sharing his experiences with you in the form of his critique of your work. He is showing an appreciation of your work based solely on his own experiences. Not so bad anymore, right?
Judi Moreo is an author, speaker, and life coach. She has written 11 books including “You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power.” Judi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org