We all wish that everyone would love, appreciate and understand our art, our ideas and, basically, us. It would be so much easier if they could just “get it”, wouldn’t it? There’s no reason at all for people to cruelly bash others or go on the attack and yet it happens everyday. Every day someone deals a harsh word, a negative opinion, an attack or an insult.
Now, it’s true that opinions differ and no one is going to like everyone and everything. Still, for some reason, while each of us can have very strong opinions about others, we oftentimes get hurt, offended or bothered when someone has strong opinions about us.
First, grow a pair
You have to learn to take it. You have to learn to both brush it off, but also see when it might actually be constructive criticism or have a seed of actual honesty. When we hear bad things about ourselves, especially relating to things we feel good about, the natural reaction is to go on the defensive. But take a step back and take a breath. Before you go on a counter-offensive, take a look at what has been said or written and see if it is something you should consider.
Still, on the other side of things, there are people who are just going to be brutal. They are going to tear into you and, really, do the reasons matter? Why justify it as jealousy or a personal grudge? It doesn’t really matter. Let go of it.
I have been writing this blog for almost two years. At least once a week, I put out my thoughts. They are my thoughts, approaches and ideas that I have experienced firsthand which have shaped my view, my opinions and my approach. Without a doubt, it is different from others, but I do not think I have ever been completely off in any of the articles I have written.
Now ask some of the readers who have both publicly and privately sent scathing comments, harsh emails and calling me every name in the book. They accuse me of being a hack, a scam artist and someone who doesn’t have a clue about the music industry. Hell, I got one guy who says my writing pisses him off more and more each week. Side note: stop reading. I don’t intentionally want to upset people, but I am not going to stop and I am not going to cater to you, so skip my blog. Easy enough right? But for all the rude comments, I get many more nice ones. Very kind emails and wonderfully supportive comments, so I keep on trucking. It can hurt sometimes, but when it is more good than bad, it is better to just let the bad go.
I was walking downtown in Seattle and a guy actually shouted from across the street that my articles are retarded. I actually kind of felt like a rock star in that moment. He hates my stuff so much, yet continues to read it and even knows what I look like. It really didn’t phase me at all. And instead of giving him the reaction he might have been looking for, I bowed, thanked him and said the next article will be out Monday morning. But still, the point is, take a look at first. If it isn’t something constructive and it isn’t something you want to change, whether it is your writing, your music or anything else, then take it with a grain of salt and brush it off. Let it go.
Sometimes communication can be bad
Literally let it go. I know I have repeated that a few times, but it needs to be repeated. Do not get into the habit of responding to these people. If you are getting genuine questions, well, that’s one thing. But if someone says you suck, your song sucks, your picture sucks or whatever, let it be. I used to erase the negative comments and more often than not now, I just leave them up. It is their opinion and it is their right to say what they want. Responding is only going to light a fire for them to attack you more. The more you react, the more you set them up to respond, to bother you more. You let them under your skin and by responding, you just give them the power to crawl around more.
Every time I have responded to someone being negative, they have only become more of a jerk. When I don’t waste the time or the effort, they usually go away or bother me less frequently.
Regardless of your job, what you create and what you want, people are a little more tired these days. Energy levels are down and we need to be at 100% to get what we want and have the endurance and energy to continue to go after it. Worrying about people that are being negative, giving you shit or just being mean takes away from the effort you can put toward what you want and bringing it to the people that actually want it and are appreciative of it. Don’t short out those that like you for wasted energy on a few that don’t.
Conclusion: It will only get worse
Realistically, it will only get worse. The more reads I get on my blog, the more kind comments have come my way, but, at the same time, the increase of the rude and harsh ones has jumped up as well. The more you play out, the more you are heard, the more you get your music out there, your writings, your image and yourself, the more people there will be to tear you a new one. The more people will give you shit, the more people that will mock you, tease you, attack you and all around try to get you all pissed off.
Take it with a grain of salt, let it roll off your back or any of the other thousands of sayings that are out there. Move forward in confidence and assertiveness and create what you want to create. That power will allow you to reach many more people than playing scared, responding to every bad comment or getting into it with every person who doesn’t like you. Don’t waste the time trying to turn a hater into a supporter. Spend your time going after as many people as you can to build a strong fan base that supports you.
Stay sensitive to your art but become less sensitive to criticism or it will eat you alive. If you can’t handle the scrutiny, you are going to have a rough go in any art or entertainment related business.