Criticism is an important part of our self-development and growth. Whether it's just as people or as employees, artists, writers, students and so forth, criticism is a tool available to assist in our self-improvement.
In young children, criticism helps to adjust their behaviours in such a way, so that they strictly adhere to certain social standards. Criticise an eight year old's handwriting, for example, using the appropriate approach will result in them trying to fix their handwriting. The key words here are, “Appropriate Approach”. And this doesn't just apply to eight year olds.
Criticism isn't just a paintbrush, it's a variety of paintbrushes, and therefore the right one has to be used for every other individual. In the same way that you can't paint everyone using the same brush; criticising everyone in the same way rarely yields satisfactory results.
A larger part of the blame will fall on to the receiver, rather than the critic; while this might seem logical, it may not be completely true. At present the word “Criticise” has more of a negative connotation to it than a positive one, resulting in the receiver of said criticism not always taking it well, however it isn't always, definitively, this particular case.
Sometimes, it just so happens that the critic fails to criticise, and instead ends up deprecating an individual. Deprecation and criticism is not nearly the same thing, but they are often confused. This is easily observable in the relationship between parents and their children, as well as between teachers and their students.
Parents and teachers, more often than not, deprecate their children or students, respectively, instead of criticising them, and it isn't entirely their fault either. The problem is more systematic than anything; as growing up, they probably faced the same treatment from their own parents and teachers as well. While this may seem like an endless cycle, breaking out of it isn't as big of an ordeal as it may seem.
A significant number of occupations nowadays replace the idea of criticism with words such as “feedback” and “evaluation”. These are basically sugar-coated versions of criticism, aimed at easing people into it. A big part of the problem is also people's ego getting in the way. Sometimes individuals do not believe that their actions warrant any sort of criticism; resulting in outrage when they are actually criticised.
There's no easy way for us to change our view on the concept of criticism to something positive overnight. However, some of the ways of in which we can try and reduce our natural dissent with criticism, is by being more aware of the why we view it in such a negative light to begin with. Viewing criticism, mostly the constructive kind, as a stepping stone towards self-improvement can also assist in easing our egos into accepting it. And for anyone in the arts, simply look at criticism as free advice on how to better hone your craft.
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