Oh, feedback. I’ve been thinking about feedback lately, and how I’ve had a lot of growth this last year, in terms of how I choose to respond to feedback. For me, it has never mattered if the feedback is positive or negative. Positive feedback has always made me feel awkward, and negative feedback, even if constructive, has always made me turn into myself and feel defeated. Oh, and of course, I often tried to speak up and defend myself, before letting the feedback settle. That, I’ve learned, is not the best approach.
Now, when someone gives me constructive feedback, I try to let it sink in, own my discomfort, and then formulate a response. What I have found, is that often the feedback I’m getting is pretty accurate. If a take a long hard look at myself, my faults, weaknesses, the majority of the time those are the areas where someone has pointed out an area for growth. My gut reaction is to take it personally, though how do I expect to grow and become better, if I’m constantly on the defensive and making the person who presented the feedback the bad guy?
The thing about feedback is that it isn’t going anywhere, and it’s present in so many areas of our lives. We get feedback from our peers, supervisors, friends and family, and sometimes even from strangers. Sure, I could let feedback go in one ear and out the other, as a way to protect myself. Yet, I’d be setting myself up to never grow or change. If things I’m doing aren’t working, how else am I going to know if people don’t tell me?
So I’ve started looking at feedback as growth opportunities. There is always going to be feedback that upsets me, or makes me question myself, but that will eventually pass. There will also be positive feedback, and I’ve learned that it’s perfectly fine to own it. If I’m willing to own the areas where I struggle, I most certainly am allowed to own the areas in which I thrive.