Negative Feedback: How I Cope As a Creative #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter N post in the #AtoZChallenge. I am feeling very uninspired today and almost gave up on writing this post, as my headphones decided to no longer work. Yes, those headphones I got for €239 a few weeks ago. The cable connection to my computer still works though, so I really have no excuse.

Today, I initially wanted to share some resources for newbie crafters, but that’d get rather boring. Instead, I’m going to share how I deal with negative feedback as a creative. This may get rather, well, negative, but oh well.

After all, I’m not thick-skinned at all. Like I said when writing about my creative frustrations and in other posts too, I get easily discouraged. As a result, my way of coping with negative feedback is usually to give up a craft entirely.

I didn’t do this when starting out with polymer clay. I mean, I did get some rather blunt comments early on, but I could see they weren’t meant to degrade my efforts or my ability to ever learn at all. It may’ve been because I had used polymer clay for a short time years before and, as a result, knew that it isn’t an inaccessible craft for a blind person.

It was different with card making. With that, I got hurt very easily when getting kicked out of groups for flaking out of my obligations for swaps etc. Still, it wasn’t until someone flat out told me that my work didn’t meet her expectations even though she knew that I was blind, that I decided to give up. Card making is not altogether inaccessible for blind people, but it can be very hard when you want to follow the traditional “rules”.

Then, with macrame, people doubted my ability to be able to learn the craft as soon as they found out I’m blind (and have mild cerebral palsy). With that, I decided, probably sensibly so, not to invest in a lot of supplies before I’d really decided whether I could master the craft. I so far only have one color of cheap macrame cord and a few supplies. I am so happy about this, since, with card making, I may’ve spent as much as €1000 without ever being remotely proficient at the craft.

Now that I’m okay as a beginner polymer clay artist, I still do get negative feedback at times. I can handle it when my staff point it out when I do something that I need to retry it as it’s not looking good. I also don’t mind people reacting badly to my finished projects. I remember once, when I’d published a polymer clay shell with a bit of a fleshy color to my Facebook wall, someone saying they were freaking out thinking it was a body part. That made me feel off for a bit, but I was quickly reassured by my staff as well as my other Facebook followers that it looked like a shell and I definitely hadn’t posted NSFW content or something.

On my blog, I get the occasional negative comment. Usually, it’s based on a misunderstanding and we’re easily able to resolve the issue. I deal with clear trolls with a direct hit to the spam folder. Then again, these are very rare.

Valid? #SoCS

I’m not sure I’m valid. I joined some groups for highly sensitive people and empaths on Facebook. I relate to literally almost every trait associated with being an HSP/empath. Then again, I’m also autistic and this means I don’t have the cognitive ability to know what’s expected of me in social situations.

I’ve heard there’s some theory about autistics being hyperempathetic where it comes to feeling others’ emotions but less able to know what another person needs. Something with cognitive empathy being lower than emotional empathy. Or was it the other way around? I have no idea and am too lazy to google it now.

I always feel like I want to see myself as a lot more positive than I am. I mean, some people close to me have said I even have some narcissistic traits. Some people think of me as a pretty stereotypical autistic and I’ve always felt good about that, as it validates my feelings of being different and my need for support. Empath/HSP only validates my feeling different.

Yet sometimes I feel that my seeing myself as somehow highly sensitive, is a way of obscuring my negative traits. It’s not that I don’t see them, but that I label them positively in a way. I mean, 90% of empathy traits are worded at least somewhat negatively. For example, have you been told you are “too sensitive?” Do you need alone time a lot? When a friend is distraught, do you feel it too? Heck, I sense negativity a lot, but isn’t that just me being a generally negative person?

I have a feeling that part of the reason I want to see myself as unique somehow, has to do with an external locus of control. I don’t want to see my huge flaws and instead go label them as assets or blame them on my childhood trauma.

And yet most people say I have a negative self-image. My CPN from mental health wants me to do a module of cognitive behavior therapy on helping me get a better self-image. Maybe I need to learn to see myself as just the ordinary person I am without either negative or positive stuff that make me different. After all, when I say I’m a pretty good writer, people close to me often say: “Well, about average for someone with your education.” Apparently I’m quite arrogant in this respect.

So am I allowed to feel different or is that just an excuse to set myself apart from the herd? Remember, feeling like you can only be understood by certain people, usually those with high status, is a narcissism trait in the DSM. I’m not sure. I want to feel okay about myself, but doesn’t that mean seeing my negative traits too? And seeing them as well as the positive ones for what they are: just traits? I guess I’ll learn this in the module.

I’m joining in with #SoCS, for which the prompt today is “val”.