Questions and Chaos

Life in the 21st Century

Criticism Doesn’t Construct

Friday, May 13, 2016

Not Constructive


Anyone who wants to write, especially on the internet, is supposed to have a thick skin. Criticism, and dealing with it, is  something everyone accepts as a fact of life. Unfortunately,  I don’t have that thick skin. Not only I am afraid of criticism but I’m also afraid of being afraid of criticism.

Sometimes Google provides the most appropriate answers to the strangest question. One night I typed “Why does criticism destroy me?” into the machine. The very first result was Proverbs 13:18 from the Bible:

If you ignore criticism your will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.

Wow! What a way to powerfully inhibit creativity and social change. Here I found a new perspective.  I was raised on the Bible and,  for sure,  I don’t want to  to end up in poverty and disgrace.  But then, which criticism do you live by to prevent this disintegration into poverty and disgrace?    I was seven years old when  I was hit with a leather strap for talking in school.  Then in  high school, I was told I would never be successful in life because I was “too quiet”.  There’s no way to win this game. I know, I’ve  spent fifty years trying.

The second Google result in my experiment was a quote on the website  of psychologist  Dr. Bill Crawford.

Constructive Criticism = An Oxymoron
Criticism can be effective when there is something that must be destroyed or dissolved, but it is capable only of harm when there is something to be built. -Adapted from Carl Jung

I’m inclined to agree with Carl Jung.  Do you notice how you feel when someone says, “Can I offer you  feedback about that?”   You can feel the enthusiasm for your project sink  even though nothing critical has  yet been said.

My take home message from the wisdom of Google  is:

Constructive criticism isn’t real.

I won’t end up in poverty and disgrace.

Fear monster vanquished….. at least for the next few minutes.

Addendum – May 21, 2016

Here is a great video that talks about dealing with criticism:



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