Seven Ways to Ignore Criticism


Haters everywhere. Try to do almost anything, positive or negative, and you have to wade through a host of comments and critiques trying to bring you down. Qualified or unqualified, warranted or unwarranted, you can expect plenty of people telling you why you’re wrong and should feel bad.

But you need haters. You need criticism. You need people questioning what you do and how you do it. It’s the only way you can grow as a person or as a professional. The problem is, most of the criticism you get is anything but constructive, and only serves to drag you and your dreams down to the bottom of the ocean floor if you let it. It’s human nature, after all.

So how do you know when to ignore criticism? You keep reading, that’s how. Here’s the seven types of critiques to ignore:

By people with no connection to the issue

Is the person delivering the criticism an industry expert? Industry amateur? Do they have any authority to comment on the subject at all? No? They’re probably just haters, then. Please note, though, that consumers do have authority to comment. For example, if you’re a writer, avid readers might have something important to contribute, as could people who aren’t usual readers of your subject of choice, but have some personal connection or interest in the subject of your particular piece. But if the critic isn’t a writer, doesn’t read on the subject you write about, and doesn’t care about the subject the piece at hand, ignore them.

That don’t mention specifics

A critique is a diagnosis, and when it provides no information as to how that conclusion was reached, it’s likely ignorant at best, hating at worst. Pay no attention to it.

By people who have never said anything positive

This can be hard to discern at times, but usually you can tell when someone has been paying attention to you and your work for a while, and has never displayed the slightest positive acknowledgment. Now when there’s an opportunity for negativity, said person is all up in your face with their opinion. Where were they when there were good things to be said? Lying in wait. Because they’re a hater.

That provide no alternative suggestions

Good and bad only exist as contrasts of each other. If someone thinks your work sucks, they must have an idea on what to do better. Whether or not they’re right, in this case, you should listen to them, and hopefully learn something. However, if the criticism is devoid of suggestions for alternatives, it’s likely pointless negativity. Move along.

By people who have an unaddressed bone to pick

If you know someone doesn’t like you, your work, your political beliefs, etc., if they want their criticism to be taken seriously, they have to address that first. “I know it’s expected from me, but I honestly think…” and so on. There has to be some sort of justification for why a person who has shown every sign of being a hater actually has something constructive to say. Without that, their words are meaningless.

That use hurtful language

Plenty of options exist for describing an opinion in a thoughtful and useful manner. When you hear words like “stupid,” “bad,” and “wrong,” it might just be by someone with a tact problem. But when you hear “worst ever,” “terrible,” “moronic,” “retarded, and “laughable,” you start to get the feeling that this person is just trying to hurt you… and you definitely don’t have time for that.

That are purely self-promotion

Sometimes you’ll get a critique or response that has plenty of useful suggestions and alternatives, but fail to mention why what you provided wasn’t sufficient to begin with. Sure, people have their own ideas, but capitalizing on your work to promote their own is a petty move.

That you just know aren’t true

Yes, this last suggestion is vague, but you know it when you see it. Criticism can be specific, respectful, suggest alternatives, and be by someone who has authority to comment on the issue and has said positive things where applicable before. But they’re just plain wrong here. This can be hard to pinpoint, but it’s worth considering since sometimes you can end up taking advice that you know is wrong purely because of who said it and how it was said. Even if you end up being wrong, sometimes you need to find that out for sure rather than taking good advice but carrying doubt in your heart.

So in conclusion, please, for the love of all that is good, take advice. You know nowhere near enough to make all the right decisions on your own, and it would be stupid to ignore what other people have learned. However, it’s important to sift through the advice and find out what’s useful and what isn’t. Most of it will be from haters. Now you know how to disregard them. Remember: it’s your life, your work, your dreams. Ultimately, only you can know what’s best, even if you first have to be wrong countless times. So ditch the haters.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.