I don't mean to talk (write) badly about my college, but the music department is kind of a special, dark place that can destroy you if you aren't careful. Not all of the people in the department are like this, but many of the older ones are extremely immature and catty. All music departments are very competitive, because that is just the nature of this field; however, the competitive spirit in this department is not one which drives people to their best, rather they become the worst versions of themselves. Normally competitive people are driven to work harder at their craft because they want to be the best. Let's say someone got the second chair *insert instrument here* position, but they wanted the first chair. In their determination to get the position they covet, they will work their butts off, right? No so here. Here, they would probably work a tiny bit harder, but mostly the person would criticize everything the first chair player does, to the point of becoming very personal. Instead of working to become better, they try to tear the other person down in order to feel better about themselves.
Brene gave an excellent talk about critics that I found very helpful. Right now I am in a place full of them, so knowing how to handle these people healthily is incredibly important to my mental well-being.
"I see you, I hear you, but I'm going to show up and do this anyway. And I've got a seat for you. And you're welcome to come, but I'm not interested in your feedback."
I'm not going to let the fear of being mocked by them keep me from taking chances and doing things that I want to do. I just have to accept that no matter what I do and how well I do it, they will always criticize me, because that is the only way they know how to behave. They will always be the ones sitting in the cheap seats jeering. I used to think "Oh, if I do well, I'll prove myself to them and shut them up." However, now I realize that I have nothing to prove to them, and that the people who are just looking for reasons to put me down are not the ones I should be putting forth time or effort to please. They are fickle and will never accept me because they cannot truly accept themselves and take responsibility for their actions.
So, if any of those critics are for some godforsaken reason reading this, I see you, and I cannot help but hear you because you are so loud that doors cannot contain your sound, but I've reserved seats for your with lots of cushions and built in seat-warmers, because I want you to get comfortable. I'm going to be in the arena a lot this year, and I refuse to listen to you or compare myself to you, because I am acting on my beliefs, aspirations, and sheer enjoyment. I'm not going to criticize you, because I don't feel the need to spend that energy on you, and I am no longer afraid of what I am. I'm just going to do my own thing.