In an earlier post, my advice was essentially that you cannot avoid criticism, no matter what you do. However, what I didn’t say was how to avoid criticism affecting you. As an artist, criticism is as corrosive as acid, if you take it to heart. The secret is in allowing everybody with an opinion to have their say, but to not let it destroy your confidence.
Some people have a tendency to criticise because the work they see is beyond their own capabilities. Others do it in a mistaken belief that they are contributing to the betterment of your work. Some people are just plain nasty. If you cannot stand criticism, there are ways of coping.
I have been known to listen to somebody’s criticism of my work and then reply “well, it was the best I could do at the time.” Other times, it’s been a case of “Thank you for your perspective, but I wanted it to look that way.” For the very insistent and rude, I have even been known to say “your approval is not actually required.”
That’s the essence of it. While it’s nice to have other people’s approval, you never can tell who will like or dislike your work, or why. Sometimes their reasons are unrelated to the quality of your work. The important thing is to have a sense of your own pleasure in the work. If you like what you do, what do you care what other people think? If they happen to like it, be grateful. If they don’t, it shouldn’t change your mind about what you think about your own work. The next person that comes along is equally likely to be a mad keen fan of the same artistic statement. Being authentic is what counts.
Sometimes we are our own worst critics or we try too hard to please everybody else, all of the time. Don’t do that. Be content with what you make and strive to make it better, but never let criticism destroy your confidence. Nobody knows how your work ought to be better than you do.