How Do You Handle Criticism?

I try to remember that there is a person behind a written text on my computer screen…” said one of my friends.

After reading the comment from a reader on my post about 4 Biggest Misconceptions About Secretaries, my first reaction was “What??! WOW!” Then followed by self doubts like “Maybe writing/blogging really isn’t my forte…

“Going to be difficult to convince people you are more intelligent than they give you credit for when the title of your post is grammatically incorrect.” – Peter in UK.

That short sentence taken me by surprise left me with a bad feeling inside about my whole blogging endeavors. “What if I really do royally suck?

Again, I hate hate hate using the “English is my second language” defense because I want to be a good writer/blogger. I don’t want to blame every single mistake on that fact alone.

Having English as my second language, it is a continuous learning process in which I am bound to make mistakes, typos here and there. Aren’t they just part of the process? No one can reach that perfection without practice. There are native English speakers out there who can’t even spell, believe me I work with some of them.

I can accept constructive criticism on my writing and I actually love that because it makes me want to do better. I even have a native English speaker friend who offered to be my ‘editor’ and read my blog posts first but I’d rather try to do it myself.

To just drop a criticism out loud and belittle me did hurt but I can move past that. In all seriousness, if you see my typos, sentences drenched in grammatical mistakes then by all means, do let me know so I can fix it…so I can learn. Just because I wrote a wrong title doesn’t mean I am not intelligent.

Sure I’ve made mistakes/typos before and there were friends who graciously let me know about it so I can get around fixing it and learned. Did it upset me? No, I was thankful they noticed what I had missed.

Two dear friends (Maria from Bicultural Mama and Aubrey from Way Too Much Aubrey – thanks, ladies!) came forward to replied to my new friend Peter – which I am grateful for because they believe in me. They didn’t see my typos or grammar as a big deal although I would love to be a flawless writer like lots of my favorite bloggers out there.

Criticism can be difficult to digest but maybe just maybe if you wrap it up in a good way then the people on your receiving end can actually accept it with a big heart and use it to better themselves.

So no, I’m not going to let one comment (and what followed thereafter) stop me from doing what I love, which is writing/blogging. Besides, I put my self out here on the blogosphere so I should toughen up and deal with criticism or the advise for me to seek refuge from hell-fire. Copyblogger had a really good piece about How to Handle Criticism.

What’s the worst comment anyone’s ever left you? Has anyone ever left a comment on your blog that made you go “What???” or “WOW that’s harsh!”? How did you handle it?



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Lifestyle and travel blogger, founder of Single Moms Indonesia on a quest of finding joy in everyday life and living life to the fullest with kindness, compassion, grace and a bit of sass.

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  1. October 7, 2011 / 9:10 pm

    You hit it right on… not to let one negative comment stop you from doing what you love! All of the positive, inspiring comments are what count. If I stopped after the first negative comment, I would have never connected with you or so many other great people out there. I think my first negative comment was about a month or two after my blog launched… ouch for a newbie! Great way you look at things Maureen, as always! 🙂
    Steph recently posted..Take Five Friday: Time For GolfMy Profile

  2. Kevin
    October 7, 2011 / 10:30 pm

    I liked this post very much! As a blogger with a small audience, I try to do some posts in English and Spanish to try to broaden my appeal. I studied Spanish for a little while in college, but I’m still not the best with the grammar, so I have my friend edit all my Spanish posts for me because she’s Argentinian. She provides me with great feedback and says that I’m improving, which is a delight for anyone to hear.

    This was a well-written and well thought out post, and I would have never guessed English was your second language. Keep up the good work, and take the criticism in stride!

  3. October 7, 2011 / 10:55 pm

    Haters and critics are all signs you are doing something right! If you didn’t have a voice and weren’t making a difference then no one would even bother trying to knock you down.

    You can’t have fans without haters so just keep on keepin’ on, sista! You’re awesome!! 🙂
    Jessica recently posted..Educate, then advocate. Our children depend on it!My Profile

  4. October 8, 2011 / 12:00 am

    First of all, the only bad writer is a boring one.

    If you write honest, interesting pieces that make people see, feel and relate(which you do magnificently), then spelling and grammar are just the frills. It’s great that you want to learn and practice and I say, if your friend is offering to help you out, by all means, accept it! I always tell my sons, any time someone wants to teach for free – take it.

    As for criticisms – no matter how bad it is, it’s never as harsh as something my mother might say. At least you could tell a stranger to buzz off.
    Nami recently posted..Mental ProcessingMy Profile

  5. October 8, 2011 / 12:40 am

    I’m so glad you didn’t let the rude remark stop you from blogging. It’s hard not to take things personally. We are all people with feelings. I think it’s easy to hide behind a computer screen and say negative, rude things. It’s harder to someone’s face, especially if you know the person and what their background is. I read Yahoo News articles once in a while and the comments there are often so offensive (whether it be racist, mean, or just ridiculous). You wonder who these people are who find it so easy to be hurtful. I’ve been writing for a few years and got a negative comment about an article I wrote covering the story about an Isotoners employee who was allegedly fired for taking breaks to pump breastmilk. There will always be haters out there. To your point, constructive criticism would be more effective.
    Bicultural Mama recently posted..“Does This Child Belong to You?” Presumptions and AssumptionsMy Profile

  6. October 8, 2011 / 12:58 am

    Yes–keep blogging! Glad you managed the comment with such resilience (and sorry you got it in the first place):)

  7. October 8, 2011 / 12:08 pm

    Keep writing! Sorry you received the comment in the first place, but there will always be somebody there waiting to knock us down. Just push past them and keep doing what you’re doing!
    Kimberly recently posted..A Winter’s ChillMy Profile

  8. October 8, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    I haven’t run into any “haters” yet, but I don’t think I’m high enough on the food chain, at the moment, to really be on any of their radars. I’m sure they will come crawling out of the woodwork at some point. I guess you just have to keep your chin up and keep on keeping on. That seemed a little cheesy, but there is truth in it. Great post; it’s definitely important to know where you stand and to be prepared for the Debbie downers of the world.

    New follower from Her Little Mister, hope you’ll visit me at

    Have a great weekend!
    Kate McAtee recently posted..Fall Friday Finds: Zany ZombiesMy Profile

  9. October 8, 2011 / 9:23 pm

    I haven’t had any offensive comments, really. I like what Jessica said, that you are doing something right if you’ve got haters! Every successful person has had a band of haters, as well as their band of followers. I love your blog, don’t quit. You are definitely not a quitter, I know that already!

  10. October 9, 2011 / 6:26 am

    —I cannot stand people who criticize others. This is the reason blogging is soooo fabulous…. One can have the Freedom to just “WRITE.”

    I’ve heard of other bloggers who get hate mail. The comments are ALWAYS anonymous because these people are chicken shit bitches who have nothing else to do but make fun of others who make grammatical errors.

    I don’t get it.

    Just write. Express Yourself. Use your authentic Voice.

    If I worried about all the haters out there, I’d never write a single word. :)))
    My Inner Chick recently posted..We Were Beautiful TogetherMy Profile

  11. October 9, 2011 / 11:20 am

    Thanks for this post! I’m new to blogging and all the criticism that can come along with it. I feel a little more prepared now…just a little! Lol…

  12. October 9, 2011 / 7:45 pm

    I once got a comment that really hurt me (I left the link to the article above as my website link). It was VERY early on in my “blogging career” for the non-profit mothers blog that I also blog for. What made the comment especially hard for me was 1. It was the VERY first comment on the post. And 2. It attacked me for something I was trying to come “clean on” and confess my downfalls on in regards to parenting – so it was a very personal post. It really hurt my feelings. And I was really taken aback because I am a big believer in constructive criticism and the saying “if you don’t have something nice to say, then say nothing at all.” After recieving this comment I made sure to wait to approve the comment until after I had taken a step back and come up with a response that reflected these two beliefs.

    And in hindsight, this comment was a blessing, because it taught me to stop and think and realize – no, REALLY realize, that everyone has their own opinion and sees things differently and that is just not something I can change in one post.

    Your post about secretaries was a great post. I’ve subscribed to the World mom blogs for some time now. Don’t second guess yourself and let one negatve comment bare more weight then the 100’s of other positive and supportive comments that you have also gotten through blogging. At least that is what I try to tell myself OVER and over (I know, easier said then done… But something I find important to remind myself as I continue to put myself out there! :))
    Kate F. recently posted..The Greatest Book of All: Our StoriesMy Profile

  13. October 11, 2011 / 11:34 am

    Honey, I know how it feels. Believe me. I receive criticisms almost every day for more than 10 years now, from – guess who else? – my better half!

    Married to a former newspaper editor whose job was to edit other people’s writings is like a slap on my face! While most Indonesian people think my English is excellent, my husband thinks my English is OK. Just enough to make a conversation. My defense has always been “I never took any English course, baby. Western movies and songs were my teachers.” But because of his constant criticisms, I now handle them better than I did before.

    However, according to him, criticisms HAVE TO COME WITH corrections or solutions. So if anyone criticized you WITHOUT giving any correction or solution along with it, leaving you a big “Where did I go wrong?” question, then that person CANNOT DO BETTER than you do.

    Anyway, it’s an interesting subject to write. I think I will write about it too, when I get my computer fixed.

  14. October 11, 2011 / 1:24 pm

    Please don’t let one negative comment bother you. Focus instead on the positive comments and the fact that you enjoy writing/blogging.
    Jessica recently posted..VlogTalk: A Real Elevator PitchMy Profile

  15. October 11, 2011 / 4:54 pm

    Blog on girl! 🙂 Chin up!

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