Criticize Me... And Die!
Yes, that’s the message. You see it everywhere you turn to. It’s very clear and the popularization of social media has only aggravated it. It happens both online and offline but it’s more prominent online because we have now successfully incorporated our online activities into our personal lives.
What am I talking about?
It is the fact that most people react so terribly, so angrily, and so negatively to criticism.
Why? Does it mean that people don't like be criticized any longer? Does it mean that you should not correct anyone again even when it is clear the person is erring? Does it mean that you should now calmly shut up just accept anyone's opinion or else risk being reminded that it's not really your business?
So many of us must have experienced it and I’m sure so many must have been shocked by the person’s reaction when you try to criticize or correct them.
You make an honest comment on someone’s wall, next thing you know, and off the person goes! S/he starts going on the defensive or offensive.
This behavior is not particular to any gender because it is exhibited by both males and females. This person starts giving you the ‘tude. They start attacking you back. They are like:
And so what?
Are you better off?
Get off my wall.
I wasn’t talking to you.
My word; my world.
Shut up if you have nothing good to say.
Go to hell.
Quit ranting, please.
Just piss off.
What’s your business?
You must be so jobless to have noticed that "minor" spelling or grammatical error.
And so on…
The arrogance and the pomposity—which can be so shocking at times—is just there for everyone to see!
After experiencing this trend online quite a number of times, I’m now like asking myself this question: why is it so difficult for people to take criticism? I mean, are we all becoming hotheads? Why is it so becoming increasingly difficult for people to take correction anymore?
So I started searching for answers.
At the end of the day, I came up with these two reasons which we are now going to discuss on why this behavior is so rampant nowadays.
Well, you see, for most people out there, they react so angrily to criticism because:
You see, so many people are insecure. We harbor one form of fear or another. Looking at someone, you may never guess what they are afraid of but I'm telling you so many of us are insecure in one way or the other.
Of course, that’s not surprising simply because as part of living in a social world where pretense is a preferable norm, we learn so fast and so early in life that it is always better to smile and act as if everything is normal and okay—even if it is not!
But that fear—that insecurity—is still there! And it can take as little as just saying one word or making a ‘careless’ comment to bring it up from where it resides somewhere deep in our subconsciousness.
So when you ‘make the mistake’ of stoking this insecurity in people with your 'unguarded' statements, you strike a nerve in such persons and most times, their only defense is to attack and fight back after all attack is still the best form of defense.
And some people can fight so dirty. They call you names. They say all sorts of things to you. They attack your person. They tell you everything that is wrong with you and your sad, pitiful and disgusting life even though they practically know next to nothing about you.
They may even go a great length to show you why you are not fit to be making that correction by looking for loopholes in your points just to prove to you that you have committed a similar faux pas. They call on others (who might also be harboring a similar insecurity) to help shut you up and down forever—with their often equally unguarded hate speeches!
But you just have to understand ONE thing assuming you are the one receiving such a response from someone you thought you were correcting or advising. I know it’s not so easy to do but you don’t have to take it personal.
The people so reacting are doing so probably because you have so unbalanced them emotionally with your so-called unguarded statement or comment.
And that can be so painful… most especially when you are telling them the truth.
Yes, the truth hurts. And it can hurt so badly… most especially when it is the bitter truth.
So always bear that in mind when you think you are correcting, advising, or criticizing someone.
Some people don’t know how to give criticism
Some people just don’t to know how to give criticism. You can easily detect the ‘tude in their criticism.
Such people wouldn’t waste time to tell you everything that is wrong with your viewpoint. And they are usually so brash too in the way they go about this. They don’t know anything about euphemism or soft words. Of course, such words cannot be found in their dictionary. They know nothing about constructive criticism too or how it’s done.
But you wouldn’t blame such people though. You have to understand where they are coming from. You see, sometimes, it’s all about their background.
Some people have acid tongues and they are so uncouth in their unguarded statement because that was how they were brought up. Some people can be so abusive because they grew up in abusive environments so naturally they think that’s just the way of life. Some are just sad and they feel making another person sad with their harsh words will somehow make them feel better when they they know they have succeeded in making every other person to feel bad.
Some others think—and they equally want you to know that they—know it all. Some people just know how to run their mouths simply because they can talk way faster than they can think. Some people are only good in passing hasty judgments while some others are just so hating, fault finders, homophobic, so prude, religious bigots, hypocrites, sexists, feminists, racists, moralists, and all the other –ists you can think of.
Some other people are so in the habit of projecting their wishes, dreams, ideas, fears and failures on you so when they talk to you in the form of giving you some advice, you just get the feeling that they are projecting their own idea of what ideal lifestyle should be like.
So if you come under the criticism of such people, just take some moment and think about it. I know that in most cases, you always get this urge to respond immediately because you might find their accusations too difficult to ignore. You may also be faced with that challenge of resisting that urge to clear things up.
Before you start running your mouth by becoming them or descending to their level, you should always bear it in mind that you don’t really know where they are coming from.
That way, you will not run the risk of coming under severe their severe hate speech which can be quite depressing and demoralizing. And beware, some people are just so good in spewing things of that nature effortlessly!
So you will agree with me that it is a two-way thing. If you want to criticize someone, please it will be good to criticize in such a way that you don’t come off as a know-it-all.
You have to be very considerate. You have to be aware that some people have certain insecurities which they are fighting on their own and they don’t necessarily need you to remind them of it. Always remember that some people are on a short fuse and they easily take offense once they are provoked.
So the rule is simple: if you can’t take it; don’t give it.
If you are being criticized, try to understand that you don't really know where this person criticizing you is coming from and if you must criticize, please make sure that you are not just criticizing because you want this person to know you have an opinion.
Always strive to let the person you are criticizing know that you are not being fiendish or trying to act superior in anyway whatsoever but rather you are only interested in providing solutions, or suggestions because that's exactly what constructive criticism is all about.
I strongly believe there’s a way you will politely talk to the person and speak with sincerity and maturity and the person will get the message you are trying to pass along.
Any other thing less than that…
Then, it’s okay.
Bring it on.
The message is still the same.
Criticize me… and die!