Sep 15, 2021 07:18 PM EDT
Whether you're a blogger, artist, or influencer, the internet has provided a channel of endless possibilities for creatively-minded individuals to share their work with the public. However, any seasoned online content creator will tell you that content consumers on the internet can sometimes be rude, nasty, or even vindictive. Although feedback is unquestionably an important and necessary part of the creative process, members of online communities tend to provide criticism harshly at best, or offer irrational hate and hurtful insults at worst.
This can be incredibly demoralizing for a content creator, especially after spending a huge chunk of time, energy, and effort at making something for others to enjoy. It's understandable for many content creators to feel like giving up after their first encounter with this type of vicious rejection and criticism. And for individuals who experience rejection-sensitive dysphoria (or RSD ADHD), or have other mental health concerns like bipolar disorder, this type of online rejection can even be severely threatening to their mental health and wellbeing.
Rather than letting the haters win, however, there are a variety of techniques that you can use to help yourself cope with it. No matter what your history or background is, you don't deserve to be the recipient of online bullying or criticism. Instead, here are five tips to not only help you deal with criticism as an online content creator, but also to help you rise above it.
Take Some Time to Calm Down
For many bloggers and other types of online content creators, the most stressful part of uploading a new work online is in the immediate moments right after pressing "publish." No matter how experienced you are, there is something incredibly vulnerable about taking something you've spent days or weeks or months working on and presenting it to the world for consideration. Any negative criticism right after you publish a new piece of work can hit so much harder than negative criticism down the line.
Not only are content creators the most vulnerable and sensitive at this time, but furthermore, there aren't additional comments or feedback to compare these negative comments to. Instead, you only have the harsh words staring back at you from the screen. When presented with seemingly instantaneous negative feedback, it's normal to feel hurt, aggravated, humiliated, or angry. It's also easy to get defensive and fire back when presented with these feelings, or to become depressed and want to give up.
It's important, therefore, to take some time to breathe and try to stay level-headed. In this moment, try to get a little perspective before taking any courses of action in response to the unkind feedback. Once you're calm, it'll be easier to evaluate negative feedback and see if it bears any legitimate validity that you can learn from. Or, once you feel more clear-headed, you can determine if the spiteful remark is simply either hate or trolling that you should disregard.
Try Not to Dwell on Negative Feelings
Speaking of disregarding hate, it's vitally important for a blogger to try not to dwell and suck on negative feedback or feelings for too long afterward. The healthiest way to interpret feedback is to either recognize the constructive value of the review (if it has merit, of course) and use it as a guideline to improve your work. Or, you should just simply disregard it if it bears no useful or constructive criticism.
In both instances, you may initially feel embarrassed or upset following the negative comments or feedback, but you should try to let those feelings go. Instead, try to either accept the comment as a valuable (albeit poorly phrased) lesson, or you should dismiss the feedback entirely. Either way, don't let it fester inside you over time. Negative feelings can have an extremely damaging effect on your mental health and happiness if you refuse to release them.
Let Your Support Network Help You
A great way to release those negative emotions pent up inside from negative criticism is by allowing your friends and family to help you. Venting to a friend or loved one can have an astoundingly positive impact on a person's mental health. That said, friends and family aren't your personal free therapists. You should never use a friend or family member exclusively as your emotional punching bag. Remember to provide them with the same help they're giving you, and show that you're interested in their lives and friendship, as well.
You can also ask your support network for feedback, too. Remember that asking for feedback isn't the same as asking for ego-boosting, though. Your loved ones should offer valid, constructive feedback, and asking for feedback from them is a great way to put excessively toxic or negative criticism from malicious individuals online in perspective. Friends and family will usually tell you both the ups and downs of your work in a way that allows you to improve and take pride in your work.
Don't Take It Personally
One of the most important aspects of working as a blogger is remembering that your value as a human being is not dictated by the quality of your work, or by the validation you receive from other people. A lot of content creators accidentally associate who they are with the work they make, and when their work is criticized, they take it as an attack on themselves as an individual. However, you are not your work, and their feedback is not a reflection on you.
Not only is this incredibly harmful for a person's mental health, but it also tends to blind creative individuals from identifying valid and constructive feedback in negative comments and reviews. Disassociating yourself as a person and creator from the quality of your work, as well as its criticism, can help you to improve both your mental health. In turn, it can also help you hone your skills as a content creator in the future.
Keep Making Content
Finally, the single most integral part of dealing with negative criticism online is to continue creating content, no matter what. Even though feelings of depression, hopelessness, and low self-esteem can make it feel like carrying on is pointless, it's important to remember that the only way online haters can be right about you is if you give up. By gathering the strength and perseverance to continue, you will inevitably get better at whatever you're doing, and improve the quality of the content you make in the future.
Remember: as a content creator, your goal isn't to make content that everyone will love. Unfortunately, that's simply not possible. What you should aspire to, however, is to create content for the niche of people that will enjoy it -- and more importantly, to create content that you can be proud of. By using criticism constructively, relying on your support network to help you along, and refusing to give up, there is no way you won't achieve that goal.
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