For better or worse, everyone is going to have an opinion about your work.
I learned this early on in two back-to-back critiques during portfolio reviews in college. The first one was tough — I don’t even remember the specifics now but there was a lot of pointed feedback on improvements I needed to make.
10 minutes later during another critique, the reviewer loved my portfolio so much that she put out a soft offer for opportunities at the internationally renowned company she worked for.
This experience was so early on in my creative career path that I had been taking all feedback at face value — I assumed people who were older and more experienced than me must know more. But the above critiques made me realize how relative it all was. How could two people look at the same exact body of work and see it so differently?
This happened years before Instagram was a reality and now the pressure can feel even more intense. A single post of your work has a vulnerability to it with the whole world being able to view it instantaneously.
Over time, there will be some negativity mixed in as you share your work; it’s inevitable once you gain some visibility. Creatives can be extra sensitive to other people’s opinions, especially the negative ones but it’s important to remember that there are billions of people on this planet — letting the negative opinion of one other person impact you is doing a massive disservice to you and your future.
I’m lucky that I learned this lesson in real life during my portfolio review away from the intensity of social media. But, I hope that if strong opinions are thrown your way, you’ll remember that what you’re creating doesn’t have to please everyone to have value.
Nobody can take the power of self-expression from you. It is yours for all time and their opinions are just that — opinions.