Which material do you consider very precious? Gold? Money? Chocolate? No matter what it is, imagine that there is something just as valuable, which we often don’t appreciate as such: Feedback.
Feedback is, essentially, an act of love. It shows that someone cares enough to tell you what works or does not work for her/him. This enables you to assess where you stand and in which way you can improve. It enables you to learn (very) quickly. It’s a bit like with a map. How much use is it to know where you want to go, if you don’t have any information as to where you are? You need to identify your own location in order to be able to find your way. So if you truly care about someone, provide her/him with honest feedback, so that they can locate themselves.
We tend to differentiate between „positive“ and „negative“ feedback. While we usually feel good about “positive” feedback, we tend to feel down or defensive about “negative” feedback. The classification into positive and negative is really only artificial though. At the bottom of it, it is all „just“ feedback and equally important for us. Dropping these labels and just neutrally calling it feedback might open up a whole new range of opportunities for you: You can access the immense learning potential lying within every kind of feedback if you stop the negative/positive stories around feedback and start looking at the jewel that is presented to you in either case: identification of room for improvement or change by learning.
I invite you to experiment with your reaction to feedback: Instead of defending yourself or blocking the feedback in any other way, can you say “thank you”? Then let it sink in deeper and choose whether you want to take it on board.
I also invite you to show the people you encounter that you care by providing them your authentic, respectful feedback. Instead of „protecting“ others by not voicing so-called criticism, can you find a way of telling them what works and what doesn’t work for you? It might also be worth asking the other person first whether she/he wants to hear your feedback at all. Providing feedback does not mean going on a righteous journey – just saying what really matters to you and giving the other person the opportunity to learn from your input. Take it one step further by truly leaving it up to this other person what to do with your feedback.
It always takes someone to provide feedback and someone to accept it. My invitation to you is to do your own bit by showing you care, and appreciating that someone else cares enough to want you to learn.
I love this perspective on feedback that I learned from Possibility Management. If you actually do the experiment, please set aside your perfectionism and allow yourself to adjust to this new perspective. Be kind to yourself. ❤