You alone are the judge of your worth and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.” — Deepak Chopra
Feedback, is it really a gift or perhaps something else? It’s incredibly abundant in this day and age of continuous assessment, ranking and self- help. It can be a very powerful tool to readjust your actions and behaviors to have more success in particular areas of your life. However, it can also be a device that makes you question your worth and place in this world. Thus, it’s tricky to know how much weight to give the feedback when you receive it consistently.
Due to the fact that I have been toiling with some critical feedback as of late, I wanted to share a few methods for thinking about it productively and using it to develop into your best self, rather than processing it as a negative judgment of your worth.
First, we all have different goals in life and bring to each situation a unique perspective. When you receive feedback, you must understand the context and background of the giver. What are their goals? What do they define as success? What are they trying to achieve in providing you the feedback? Most people are not malicious; they do not want to provide you feedback to devalue your contributions and strike your confidence. Rather they want to help you close the gaps they see between the steps you are taking vs. what they have observed as yielding success along the path you are taking.
Second, consider the accomplishments and path of the person who is providing the feedback. Do you want the success that this person has? Have they reached their goals successfully? If you truly don’t want what they have attained, then you may need to think about changing your goals or the path to get there. Moreover, if they have not reached success in what they are providing you feedback on, you may want to reach out to another person who has had success in the endeavor you’re pursuing to better understand how you need to adjust your actions.
Third, if you know you are on the right path and that the person providing the feedback has had success along it, but yet you continue to defend your current actions as the right ones to meet your goals, you need to reflect on why you are being so defensive in receiving the feedback. Why is it difficult for you to accept that there may be a better way to approach reaching success in this arena? Do you feel like this person is attacking your self worth and if you accept the feedback you are diminishing your own value? If so, you may need to take a step back and investigate why you are so sensitive to receiving feedback on how to better yourself.
Although many of us have accomplished great things in our lives, at our core we still question our value and worthiness to reach our goals. We try to keep proving to the world that we are valuable enough to have what we really want in this life time. However, all the proving doesn’t get you anywhere until you accept your humanity with humility. You will make mistakes, you will find it hard to muster continual motivation and you may not be the best at this particular job, sport or activity. That said life provides a multitude of opportunities for us to determine what we are uniquely gifted to do. This is why I believe it’s important to always challenge yourself to take risks, i.e. move to another state, start that degree, leave that job etc. This is not to say that you shouldn’t commit to something and see it through, rather examine how you feel when you receive feedback: is this the universe telling you to course correct, find another advisor or humbly accept that you can develop into something better, even though you are already completely worthy as you are.