Is it possible to view Criticism as Appreciation?
You know, people hear the word criticism and they almost automatically flinch. Their heart beats a little faster and they prepare themselves for the worst. It’s a pretty safe bet that those same people never looked up synonyms for the word “criticism.” If they did, they’d see words like appreciation, appraisal and observation; none of which carry the same negative connotation.
Who doesn’t want their work to be appreciated? There is great value in the appreciation of a work. Think about the art world. If someone said they appreciate your work of art, would you cringe? Of course not, because even though they didn’t tell you what they appreciate about your work yet, you assume it’s a good thing. And your assumption is based solely on your interpretation of the word.
Why can’t we see criticism the same way? In today’s society, people are so afraid of the word criticism. Why doesn’t it offer the same happy feelings that the word appreciation gives? If someone tells you that they love your work, don’t you want to know why? If someone says they hate your work, don’t you still want to know why? There is so much that you can learn from someone’s opinion or critique of your work.
Let’s go back to the appreciation of your work of art. Let’s say that person explained to you that what they actually appreciate about your work is the fact that it reminds them of a sad, very emotional time in their life. Your assumption just hit a brick wall. Your work is supposed to represent the most joyful moment of your life and here this person feels sad just by looking at it. But this is their opinion.
Learning to see Criticism as Appreciation
This is their critique of your work based on their life’s experiences. No one on this earth has had the same experiences. We all see things differently and therefore we all have different reactions. And this can be applied to every facet of life. People have different experiences and those experiences create different reactions. Now since when did that become a bad thing?
Instead of hearing the word criticism and immediately cringing, try to think of it in a different light. You are gaining knowledge. You are gaining an insight into someone else’s world. They are sharing their experiences with you in the form of their critique of your work. They are showing an appreciation of your work based solely on their own experiences. Viewing criticism as appreciation is not so bad anymore, right?