On Feedback And Criticism

Raul Popadineți
2 Jun, 2021 • 2 min read
Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash

There are two types of people in the world. The ones that know how to offer constructive feedback when something goes wrong, and the ones that don’t. The latter seems to happen to people having stressful jobs and tend to unload that pressure on someone who barely deserves it.

Some people developed very thick skin over the years and don’t have a hard time offering harsh criticism. Well, that shouldn't be the rule. Nobody has the right to be cruel, regardless of how much we went through. 

On social media, most often, people don’t know how to be kind to one another. Staying behind a screen when writing is a wall that turns into a safe space from which we think we can shout and say whatever we want. We forget we talk to real humans and not some robots without feelings on the internet. We have to change this. We need to be more aware that we should calibrate our writing with how we talk when we meet someone in person.

In Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search For Meaning, he tells the brutal life story of his prisoner years inside the concentration camps during WWII. Once he and a few other survivors were set free, their first emotion was fear. Fear that it’s another trap set by the concentration camp leaders. But when they realized they’re truly free, they ran in the barns of a farm in sight and started stealing food and other stuff, except for Viktor. He told them what they were doing is not right. Then one of them turned to him and shouted, “After everything we endured?”. 

The answer is YES. Even if you’ve been through hell and back, that doesn’t give you any privileges or rights over someone else’s property, or life, more so be a jackass. 

This book made me realize how much we lack empathy and compassion as human beings. Yet, we can develop them over the years if we’re intentional about it.

Criticism won’t disappear. So the first step we can do to view it from a different perspective is not to assign it to ourselves. Next time your boss critics an article you wrote, consider the problem to be the article, not you.

On the other end, when we have to give feedback, try to read it aloud before hitting the Send button. Does it sound like something you would say to a person in a bar? If it feels off, think of rewriting it.

With COVID, people started to write more to compensate for the lack of in-person communication. But this shift needs to make us more aware of what we write and how we write it. 

We have a tendency to read stuff with a negative tone, so it’s easy to make the wrong assumptions. Most writing on the internet lacks emotion unless we get really good at it — emojis and GIFs for the win! So next time you read a feedback, do it with a positive tone instead. It will change the way you look at things.

Even if the internet is not the kindest place for receiving feedback, we can make it a better place by becoming better readers and writers.

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