On social media and online, criticism is rampant, and it can take a toll on even the most seasoned creatives.

Recently, I stumbled upon a video featuring Taylor Lautner (best known for playing werewolf Jacob Black in The Twilight Saga film series), where he shared his experience dealing with negative comments and reviews.

His perspective resonated with me, and I believe it can be valuable for all of us in the book world and especially online, where anyone who puts themselves out there is up for being on the receiving end of more and less helpful feedback.

The sting of criticism.

Taylor candidly expressed how reading comments and reviews made him question his abilities and contemplate giving up. And, quite frankly, feel like crawling into a hole and never coming out.

I’ve experienced this myself—that sinking feeling when you get scathing feedback that makes you question your worth as a creative.

It’s disheartening and makes me doubt my creative talents.

But as my work gets in front of more eyes, I become more exposed to criticism. The one-star reviews become more cutting, and negative comments grow louder.

It’s the price for getting my work out there and into more readers’ hands, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

My mental and creative well-being can suffer under the weight of these judgments.

And I felt like Taylor’s advice offers a lifeline in the storm of criticism: he encouraged identifying and focusing on where I place my value.

If I derive my value solely from the opinions of others, negative feedback will invariably hurt me.

However, if I ground my worth in knowing who I am, where I stand in my writing journey, and the joy I find in my craft, negative comments lose their power.

It’s about choosing my battles.

Reading reviews, particularly the negative ones, is detrimental to my mental and creative flow.

While some reviews may provide valuable insights, the negative effects often outweigh the benefits.

It’s crucial to self-assess and determine if reading reviews aligns with your well-being. If not, it might be wise to steer clear of them altogether.

This is what I do because I know myself well enough that I get distracted easily and prefer to focus on the work and getting it done.

There are strategies to navigate the overwhelming sea of reviews. One option is to filter reviews to only display the positive ones. By consciously focusing on the 5-star feedback, you shield yourself from the more damaging opinions.

However, if you are going to delve into reviews, doing this gives you an incredibly one-sided view.

Another approach is to delegate the task of selecting and sharing reviews to a trusted friend, relative, or assistant. This way, you receive snippets and information without exposing yourself to the aspects of reviews that can sting or that can distract you from the work at hand.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

As I navigate through the challenges of criticism, it is important to remember Taylor’s parting advice: never forget to be nice.

Choosing kindness and support over cruelty and negativity can make all the difference – not just for them, but for yourself as well.

Developing an optimistic way of dealing with feedback that serves you and helps you cultivate good energy is key here.

Instead of tearing down someone’s creative output, we can choose to uplift and encourage one another.

In the realm of putting your creative work out there, criticism is inevitable.

You just need to remember that you have the power to reclaim your sense of self-worth by placing value in our own journey and love for the craft.

Whether you choose to read reviews or shield yourself from them, it’s crucial to prioritise your mental and creative well-being above all else.

Kindness and support will go a long way in nourishing spirits and fostering a community of resilient creatives.

Comparison brings inferiority vs. superiority.

Let’s face it, there is always going to be somebody who is more beautiful, more talented, stronger, more intelligent, or apparently happier than you are.

A blade of grass is needed as much as the biggest star.

Without the blade of grass the universe will be less than it is, and the universe will be less for it if the blade of grass disappears.

When you don’t compare, all inferiority, all superiority, disappears.

Then you are, you are simply there.

A small bush or a big high tree–it doesn’t matter; you are yourself.

You are needed.

The way to find out who you are is not by comparing yourself with others, but by looking to see whether you are fulfilling your own potential in the best way you know how.

Who ever told you that the bamboo is more beautiful than the oak, or the oak more valuable than the bamboo?

Just look around.

All is needed, and everything fits together.

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