Be Slow To Take Offence


When you choose to make a living from regularly baring your soul to complete strangers (as well as family and friends), it can be extremely difficult to swallow “constructive” criticism regarding your art. But being easily offended cannot only damage important relationships (both professional and personal), it also hurts you. If you’re one of those people who is quick to take offence, and don’t work at becoming a bit more resilient, you risk spending your life feeling worthless, victimised, unloved and misunderstood. The good news is that you control your emotions – they don’t control you.

The first thing you have to realise is that not everyone is going to love what you do. That’s just life. Don’t let it steal your joy. If you write folk music and your classic-rock-loving friend isn’t in love with your latest song, don’t let it rock your boat.

Secondly, some people really are just trying to help. When your uncle tells you that you “should” do XYZ to become more successful, appreciate the fact that he’s trying to help, even if his advice is misguided. You may even find that it’s not as misguided as you think, if you take the time to properly listen.

I don’t speak from a place of ignorance. My producer, recording engineer and band-mate also happens to be my husband. He is very honest, and has no trouble saying what he thinks, if he feels it will benefit the overall product. In the past I would routinely storm off or cry if I felt that I was being criticised as a songwriter, singer or musician. Then I would get over myself and realise that he’s not being mean – he’s trying to help me make the best album possible. The opinions of others (particularly those who have a vested interest in you for one reason or another) can be very important and helpful.

Of course, non-constructive, “I-hate-you-and-your-music-and-everything-you-stand-for”-typed comments should be dismissed without a second thought – they’re not worth your time or energy. But next time a friend, family member, creative partner or fan offers some advice – or an opinion – that you don’t immediately love, don’t let it anger you. Know who you are as a person and as an artist, and don’t let the opinions of others shake your identity. You may well find you learn something really valuable when you don’t let your emotions interfere with your ability to hear.


Photo courtesy of Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

2 Thoughts on “Be Slow To Take Offence

  1. Love this post and the realness of it. It’s so true that it will bring you down if you care too much what others think or take it personally. I’m definitely guilty of that almost every time. But I’ve definitely learned to let it go and not worry about it in the past few years. Life is funny. Thanks for sharing! Xo, M at

    • Thanks Marilyn, I appreciate your comment! I think we’re all guilty of taking things personally, but as long as we’re aware of it and are committed to growing then we’re taking steps in the right direction! Take care. x

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