If you have been in the arts for awhile, you are undoubtedly familiar with criticism. Comments made by all sorts of people—those you might know and those you don’t—can either fill us with deep satisfaction or bring us to our knees. The important thing for all of us, is to learn to hold those critical comments in perspective, and to not let them stop or influence our creative expression. Easier said than done….right?
Here’s what Elizabeth Gilbert has to say about this subject:
“Recognizing that people's reactions don't belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you've created, terrific. If people ignore what you've created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you've created, don't sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you've created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest - as politely as you possibly can - that they go make their own f***g art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
If Liz’s quote has made you laugh, that’s good. If you have gotten her central message—that no-one has the right to denigrate your creative efforts—that’s even better. After all, if you have chosen to bring your creative gifts to the world, you are honoring a sacred Calling.
It takes courage and holding to a core truth to be creative.
And no one says that better than David Whyte…
...There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.
Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don't turn your face away.
Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.
Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen
nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others....
~ David Whyte
In the next few blogs, I am going to be addressing the many faces of criticism and how to respond to it in a healthy way.
In the meantime, please feel free to share your experiences with criticism of your art and how you dealt with it!
And we’d love to provide you with whatever support you might need to empower your creative expression and your art career. You can contact us at ArtCoachingforyou.com