Lately I’ve noticed a lot of criticism in comments sections of articles correcting misspellings and grammar. I honestly think that the people commenting are trying to be helpful but their comments are often hurtful because of how they are worded. There is a huge difference between critique and criticism.
Criticism is cutting and hurtful. It doesn’t take the feelings of the person on the receiving end into account. It is my opinion that criticism is often rooted in jealousy. When I hear/read criticism I picture a dark green ogre (dark green is the color often associated with envy) with a club in his hand trying to crush out any little sprout of talent he sees in his path. He wants to beat down his victims so that he looks better.
Critique, on the other-hand, comes from an authentic desire to help. It is wrapped in compassion and helpfulness. The individual commenting truly cares and is careful to sandwich their critique. They first give affirmation, next their critique, and end with another positive comment. For example, “I appreciated your article, “Earth’s Satellites are Harming Mar’s Atmosphere.” Your article did an excellent job of drawing awareness to the needs of the martians and demonstrating how our satellites are harming the atmosphere around their planet. As I was reading your article, I noticed you typed “though” but I think you meant to type “through.” Thanks again for writing such an informative article. I look forward to reading more articles by you.”
As a writer who struggled greatly in academics and felt “stupid” due to some learning challenges, I welcome critique because I desire for my writing to improve and blossom. Criticism on the other hand, is not helpful to me at all. It causes my old insecurities and doubts, which held me in bondage for years, to creep up and start assailing me again. I have a few friends who have had similar experiences and I know that we are not alone.
I’d like to reiterate that criticism hampers growth but critique encourages it. Criticism tramples feelings; critique considers the feelings of others. May our words be building blocks rather than deadly weapons. May we encourage others rather than destroy them. May we each be an encourager rather than a Green Ogre. I’ll close with the poem that I posted yesterday morning on my poetry blog The Dance of Life.
a giant dark green ogre
beating others down
in order to make itself
He is never