CRITICISM DEFINED: Is the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes.

There are many types of criticism. According to Wikipedia, they include the following:

Aesthetic criticism, Logical criticism, Factual criticism Positive criticism, Negative criticism, Constructive criticism, Destructive criticism, Theoretical criticism, Public and private criticism, Moral criticism, amongst others.

Due to the focus of our discuss we will be limiting ourselves to Positive and Negative criticism.

There is a saying “Everyone’s a critic,” but not everyone’s a good critic”. Criticism, both positive and negative, can be uncomfortable to hear, but it’s one of the best ways to improve your approach to life issues, and relationships.

By positive criticism, I mean any constructive criticism that focuses on the strong points of an individual, group, or a subject of discuss.

Negative criticism, on the other hand, refers to any constructive criticism that focuses on the weak points of an individual, group, or a subject of discuss.

While both are valuable, learning from positive critiques will motivate you more towards the attainment of set goals because, it builds your self-esteem which get you a lot further in life.

On the flip side, Negative criticisms are a lot more common. The reason being that, it is a lot easier to indulge in it. it focuses on finding the flaws in people or in a subject of discuss.

Positive criticism

positive criticism draws attention to a good or positive aspect of something that is being ignored, disregarded or overlooked. People may be able to see only the negative side of something, so that it becomes necessary to highlight the positive side. A positive criticism may also be a type of self-justification or self-defense.

The term “positive criticism” is also used in the sense that the criticism is “well-meant” or “well-intentioned” (“I mean it in a positive way”). Here, the criticism intends to serve a purpose that is constructive, or that the targeted person would approve of.

The basic aim of positive criticism is usually to provide a better orientation, or frame of reference, for behavior. It provides ideas people can act on to improve the situation. At the very least, it provides more choices for behavior, and therefore potentially enlarges behavioral freedom.

Negative criticism

Negative criticism means voicing an objection to something, only with the purpose of showing that it is wrong, false, mistaken, nonsensical, objectionable, or disreputable.

Generally, it suggests disapproval of something, or disagreement with something – it emphasizes the downsides of something. 

Negative criticism is also often interpreted as an attack against a person (ad hominem). That may not have been the intention, but it can be interpreted that way.

Negative criticism can have the effect that the people criticized feel attacked or insulted by it, so that they either do not take it seriously, or react badly to it. Much often depends on how much negative criticism there is, and how much criticism is transmitted at once.

People can handle some negative criticism, but they may not be able to handle a whole lot of negative criticism, at least not all at once.

The downside of negative criticism is, often, that it tells people what they cannot or should not do or believe, rather than telling them what they can or should do (what possibilities or options there are). So, it may be disabling, rather than enabling. 

People might reply to a negative criticism that “this is all very well, but I cannot do anything with it”, or they might say “now what?!”. Yet, negative criticism may be necessary at times, to prevent a course of action harmful to the people concerned.

Business partners shaking hands in agreement

If people are afraid to state a negative criticism, the existing problem might get worse.

The upside of negative criticism is that it can explain what the limitations of an idea, an action or a situation are, for the sake of being realistic. Sometimes it is necessary to say “no” to something (and explain why “no” is “no”).

In the modern world, negative criticism has acquired the stigma of “being negative”, and people who make negative criticisms can be easily exploited or manipulated. For this reason, many people nowadays express their negative criticism simply by not saying anything, not paying attention to something or someone, or by being absent.

Stanley Agoha

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