Dear Dissertation Diva:
How do I keep from being totally crushed when a top scholar in my field levies harsh criticism against my methodology, my approach, my training -- in short, me -- in a public setting?
Trying to Stay Confident
It's harsh, and it happens. Here are three tangible strategies you can use.
First, depersonalize the criticism. It's not about you personally. It's about a difference of opinion on methodology or approach. This strategy can help you not take the words personally.
Second, look at why this particular scholar is critical of this particular methodology or approach. Why is that scholar invested in their position? What is threatening or groundbreaking about yours? Use your analytic skills to understand their position and to shore up your confidence in your own approach.
Third, be compassionate. Some elder academics may shoot arrows of criticism at emerging scholars in the public space of conference hall or panel discussion out of fear of losing their own positions as fields develop and shift. If you can build a bridge of understanding that other person's fear, you can keep from being crushed.
If all else fails, envision a criticism-proof armor of white light! But whatever you do, don't let others' unhelpful comments block your own brilliance. Keep doing your own work!