When People Don’t Like What You Make
Fear of judgement is a huge creative block, and one I actually see a lot.
So many of us hold our creations and ideas inside of us because we’re afraid “someone” won’t like us. This “someone” can be a certain person or group, like your parents or spouse or school friends, or “someone” can simply be a faceless mass of people. You might be afraid of posting images of your art online because you’re afraid that “someone” out there won’t like it and might even leave jerky comments. Maybe you don’t want to sing in front of people because you think they’ll throw tomatoes at you and boo you off the stage.
It’s totally understandable, and I struggled with this for a long time.
In school, I got made fun of for my “weird” art. Sometimes people criticized my theatrical performances in a mean way. Even some people very close to me have slammed on something I made and really hurt my feelings, even though they didn’t mean to.
Nobody likes that feeling, and it’s natural to avoid it.
So how do we carry on and create anyway?
Here’s a secret: It’s okay if someone doesn’t like what you make or how you do something. It’s really okay.
Think about it: You don’t like everyone. You don’t like every song you’ve heard, every movie you’ve seen, or every piece of art you’ve ever come across. You haven’t liked every book you’ve read, have you?
Everyone has preferences. Everyone has beliefs and ideas that color the way they see the world. Everyone has ideas of what’s “good” and “bad” with art, and every opinion is different.
And none of it is about you.
You don’t like everyone and everything, and not everyone has to like you and what you make.
It’s not about you. Don’t take it personally.
There are lots of people in this world, and lots of thing people have made. It’s a number’s game really, chances are certain that there is someone in the world who really won’t like you or your stuff.
I recently told a client, “It’s okay to be black licorice. A lot of people absolutely hate it, but then there are people of me who LOVE it and can’t get enough of it. Those are your people. The black licorice haters aren’t wrong and the licorice doesn’t have to take it personally, it’s just their preference, and it’s okay.”
Let your freak flag fly! No matter what you make, no matter how safe you play, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it. You might as well make EXACTLY what you want.
Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you.