Criticism - can 'bad' criticism be good?

21 Mar 2019

Recent activity on Moodscope got me thinking about my own need for approval.

I'm about to launch a new product (but will I ever actually do it?) and have been busy of late making the product, photographing it for a website, designing labels and publicity material, researching, etc.

The photographs are great, I'm really pleased with them, as is the product. If I was looking at said photos on any other website, my first thought would be, "I love it, great product, clever", quickly followed by frustration that I hadn't had such a great idea that I have the skills to execute just as well. Silly me, another missed opportunity, deflated, disappointed me.

I've been sharing my idea and photos with friends and the feedback has been great, really encouraging and positive, everyone loves what I'm doing and is telling me to keep going, I'm onto a winner.

So what is the problem?

My inner critic is telling me I'm wasting my time and money, have got no idea what I'm doing, don't have a serious business plan (I do, I think!), etc., relentless self doubt.

I start arguing with this doubt;

Me (to Self Doubt): "But the feedback has been great, what's your problem?"

Self Doubt: "Of course the feedback is good, you are only asking people you know will give you good feedback! They are your friends after all, do you really think they are going to tell you it's a bad idea/don't like the product? They are encouraging you, this is great, this is what you want and need to hear to keep going, but it doesn't mean you'll be able to carry it off."

Me: "Fair point, SD, you win this argument."

SD 1 : Me 0

Which led me to asking myself how I would deal with 'bad' feedback. Actually I'm open to it (I think!), and feel that there would be a certain honesty in it, that it would actually be more helpful to hear why people don't think the product will work, or isn't quite right etc. Positive feedback is comforting to hear, but is it as helpful as more critical feedback?

The issue perhaps is not so much whether feedback is good or bad, but how it is delivered and for whose benefit. Is it delivered with kindness, with genuine interest, with experience and knowledge shared for success or is it with overly harsh judgement, bitterness or jealousy from someone disappointed that their own inner critic got the better of them and stopped them from reaching their potential and tapping into their creative self?

Of course we never know what drives other people, the only constant we have is our self, and the ability to get to know, love and respect all of our self, the good, bad, yes and the downright ugly side too, with acceptance, familiarity and humour!

SD 1 : Me 1

(not that I'm keeping score!)


A Moodscope member.

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