It seems like everyone’s a critic these days.
Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor have made it easy.
Just because someone has a keyboard and an opinion, they think it needs to be expressed.
It’s particularly easy when its anonymous. Keyboard warriors like to hide behind a fake name and complain and criticize others, in hopes of seeing the effect of their cruel words.
People seem to get a rush when they have had a less than stellar experience and can complain about it online.
Sadly, those types of comments are the ones that garner the most response, too.
Because the internet is not going to let someone post a complaint without everyone chiming in with their own two cents about it.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say….” Mama would begin.
“I know, I know. Don’t say anything at all.” How Granny got to speak was beyond me, because she never said anything nice. But Mama always urged me to not say anything that wasn’t nice and, I sincerely, earnestly try.
But people love to be critical and mean.
And it is something I just can’t comprehend.
Someone asked me recently if I took criticism well.
I told them it depends on the spirit in which it was given.
I’ve been around people who thought the best way to help someone was to tear them down, forgetting to ever build them back up.
Unfortunately, some of these people were in supervisory positions – how, I don’t know, because being critical to the point of soul crushing is not leadership.
But criticism, when it is given with the intention of being constructive and helping people change, can be helpful.
Still painful, nonetheless, but helpful.
If we haven’t been told how to correct a mistake the first time we make it, we don’t realize we’ve done anything wrong.
We think we are doing a good job – especially when we keep doing it and no one says anything.
When someone finally does say something, it stings. Horribly.
The even more frustrating part?
That uncomfortable space is where we grow.
It may not feel like it at first but it is.
I say this and I have the world’s thinnest skin.
But if someone is trying to help me improve, I appreciate the time it took for them to do it.
And in that awkward, uncomfortable space of hearing our flaws and missteps, we have to realize we are not being personally attacked but coached so we can do a better job.
It doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t make us happy. It can be terrifying to hear we have messed up.
It can also be wonderful to hear what we’ve done right and hopefully if they are trying to help you, they should tell you what you did correctly.
“Do I even breathe right?” I remember asking someone who was particularly critical once.
“You do tend to sigh a lot,” the supervisor complained, which made me only sigh more.
Even though that was a particularly dry place to try to grow, it taught me how I wanted to be treated and how to treat people I worked with.
The sad thing is, there’s more people like this one out there – people who are trying to make others just as miserable as they are.
Instead of focusing on the areas that need improvement, I am going to focus on what they are doing right and hope that will be magnified.
And I am going to tell people too.
When I see something going right, I am going to call the manager to let them know. When I have a great experience, I am going to talk about that on Twitter.
No one likes a critic.
So I am going to start spreading praise like crazy and see how that goes.