Accepting Feedback

A while ago, I got some brutal feedback from people in two different areas of my life. I think one person said, “I don’t want to be discouraging, but . . .” He then proceeded to be say something very discouraging.

It was hard to hear. To be honest, some of the feedback I didn’t even fully understand, making it that much more difficult. I’m not even good enough to understand what I’m doing wrong . . .

I’m not great at accepting feedback and criticism. I think I do okay, but then when it comes down to it, I want to be praised. I want to be doing a good job. I want approval. And that’s actually a good thing! Those desires help me work hard and learn.

But I’m not going to get all the approval that I want. Other people don’t need to believe in me. They might have opinions and feedback, but they think about me a whole lot less than I think about myself. They aren’t going to see everything in the way I do. And it is easy to see flaws when you are being a critic–and a lot harder to actually fix them as a creator.

I need to have a higher opinion of myself than other people do. Because believing in myself helps me keep going–it gives me the optimism to keep trying, over and over again.

So what do I want to do when I receive criticism?

First, I cry if I want to. Crying is a good response, actually. I let myself respond emotionally and accept and validate what that response is.

Second, I want to give myself some time to process. My first reaction is filled up with emotion, which is fine, but I need to let those emotions subside before I go on to the next step.

Third, I decided whether I am going to accept the criticism or not. Sometimes I decided I’m going to make changes, but sometimes I decide that I can ignore what they are saying.

Finally, I start to make changes. Often, those changes don’t need to be major. Minor adjustments can make a huge different.

And I want to try to avoid getting angry or upset at the person giving criticism. I can blame them very easily. I can say that they don’t know what they are talking about. I can say that they are wrong and insufficient. But this way of thinking doesn’t help anyone. I can choose to ignore or accept what they say, but either way, I don’t need to judge them for their words. That just adds insult onto injury.

I know that I will receive a lot of feedback. And I want that feedback to help accelerate my own growth and learning. But it’s good to accept that feedback will always be hard to hear, and to make sure I give myself the time and space to deal with it appropriately.