Being exposed to lots of criticism can help you be more comfortable with it.
When I was at university and college, we had “crits” which is short for critique.
At the end of our projects, we had to make a presentation to the rest of the class and the teacher would deliver their critique in front of the whole class. We as students were encouraged to critique each others work. We were not praised, the work was supposed to be given real feed back. If something was spot on about our work, we were told so, but we were always told how to improve on what we’d done.
A lot of the people in my Uni class were new to critique, and some found it hard at first (they cried). I’d been used to it in college, from age 17, so I was a little more used to it.
I was heavily critted during my presentations and at other times. Once my teacher threw my whole sketchbook in the bin and told me to start over, once she said I am obviously ill considering the work I’m doing is terrible and need to go home and rest and once… this stung the most… my work was held up in class as an example of what not to do. My teacher said my work was boring and shoddy! Even though I had worked really hard on it.
I never really questioned this crit process, I was totally comfortable with it and it just became part of my life to be criticised. As I’ve got older I’ve started to creep back into avoiding criticism. “Where did this fearless student go?’
When I send work off to a client, I’ve become afraid of getting a negative response. And I’ve identified this as something that’s bad. I should not be afraid of criticism, it’s affecting my day to day life.
I was reflecting on my education, and I realised that the “crits” were the most important thing about my entire education.
If you’re afraid of criticism, you’re afraid of experimentation, you can’t be innovative, you’re playing it safe.
If I got positive feedback from a client, I’d be worried that there was something they didn’t mention, maybe they were afraid to criticise me and were not 100% happy with my work.
Ask for criticism wherever possible.
So this is why, now when I send work off I say here’s the work “please critique”. Critiques help me improve my work, make sure there is nothing the client is unhappy with and above all, it’s easier to receive criticism when you have asked for it.