You are always going to get negative feedback. As you get more and more positive feedback, you get more and more negative feedback.
For example: this month I reduced my freelance photography rate from $50 per event to $20 per hour, with a minimum of $20 plus a $10 travel fee. Editing and a CD are free, but I provide no prints. I’ve done almost no freelance photography and I don’t even care about it, but I offer it because people ask about it all the time. The people who say I’m too expensive are actually MORE vocal now. Out of the ten who have asked this month, two have said I charge way too much. I have good equipment, 5 years experience, and a gallery of portraits, so I’m charging very little, but some people still complain. If I charged $5 there would be people saying “it will only take a few minutes!” There will ALWAYS be negative feedback.
Sometimes negative feedback is valid. More often negative feedback is bogus and positive feedback is legitimate. If you are evil this will be flipped: positive feedback (“good job gassing those Jews!”) is bogus and negative feedback (“murderer!”) is legitimate. You should ignore bogus feedback and cut off the source. In your email inbox, bogus feedback makes you want to click “Delete.” Constructive criticism makes you want to click “Archive” because everyone ignores constructive criticism. Accurate negative feedback makes you want to click “Archive” quickly because you are uneasy. If you keep mulling over a comment, it has truth.
A couple years ago I believed you should always speak your mind. Now I know you have to be cautious if you want to be part of normal institutions, i.e. public school, the university, or a bureaucratic place of employment.
For example: here are my observations about the word “nigger”:
* For a long time it was used derisively against blacks and mulattos. Even President Harding was called a nigger.
* Now it is often used by blacks when talking to their black buddies in “the ‘hood.”
* Black rappers say nigger in their song lyrics all the time and their CDs are sold at Wal-Mart.
* If a white man calls a black man a nigger, there are now Draconian penalties—a tenured professor could be fired.
* Calling a white man a honkey, a cracker, or white trash is not very bad.
* If a black man calls anyone a nigger there will likely be no penalty.
* This is racist. Two wrongs never make a right—you cannot mitigate historical oppression by flipping it. When the oppressed become the oppressors they are still unjustified.
* “Nigger” should be universally offensive, but when a white man is called a nigger he brushes it off.
* Professors are afraid of their white students saying the word, even when discussing historical racism. Instead we have to say “the N-word.”
These can be objectively proven. Therefore, they are not beliefs. They are observations. However I would not dare make these statements at my job or school because there could be painful sanctions, even in history class! Most professors would not find them offensive, but white professors would strike me down, lest they themselves be labeled “racist.” It’s a sad system.
I love this website because I can say whatever I want. I own the domain name, I own the DNS name servers, and I control the server and software. I’m renting the server, but my web host has a traditional policy of non-interference. When you post on someone else’s site or you speak on someone else’s property, you are subject to their rules. You can be moderated. I am accountable only to the U.S. government, my local government, and defamation lawsuits, so I don’t have to watch what I say.
Granted, my main source of income is Google AdSense and they could cut me off, but there are always other income streams. I have a lot of freedom.
If you can’t speak your mind at your job, your school, or your social clubs, you can always opt out. Quit, leave, find your own space. How much personal autonomy are you willing to sacrifice? We all must sacrifice some amount of freedom for convenience or safety. For example, if you enjoy eating or injecting cocaine, you have no legal options in the United States. Your two legitimate options are: a.) don’t use cocaine, b.) move to Colombia and grow some Coca leaves. Moving to Colombia is very inconvenient, so most people choose option a.
Speaking your mind always has a price. Ask yourself: is this price worthwhile? Are you willing to pay it? You might get fired. Can you pay your mortgage? There are many reasons to speak your mind, but there are also many reasons to NOT speak your mind. There are shades of gray. Weigh your options. The decision is yours alone.