When someone gives us feedback that is challenging to hear, we need to be able to handle ourselves by responding openly and appreciatively, yet also self-protectively and certainly non-defensively. Here are some tips on how to master this:
- Consciously intend to offer any person who has an issue with you the five A’s. Maintain in your heart the following intentions:
- I am paying close attention to you now;
- I accept that you see things from your perspective in this moment;
- I allow you to be yourself and have a differing perspective;
- I appreciate you for sharing your truth with me;
- I have genuine affection for you, even if we disagree.
- Establish eye contact and listen mindfully, without defensiveness, anger or plans to retaliate and/or “prove” the other wrong.
- Acknowledge your role in the issue, as well as the impact the other person has experienced. Do not use denial to protect yourself. Do not minimize or discount your impact. Do not try to justify yourself at this point.
- Take what the other person says as information, not censure.
- Speak up if the feedback includes blaming, shaming or attacking language or energy. Being open to feedback does not equate to being open to verbal or emotional abuse.
- Make amends when it makes sense, as well as make a plan for change if warranted.
Developing into a person who is open to feedback is a sign of psychological maturity. You will be seen by others as approachable, safe and quite honestly, refreshing. What an endearing quality to be humble enough to be open to how others experience us and the impact we have made on them. If we can do this, we model for others what it is like to be open to feedback. In a committed partnership or in close connections with friends, family and co-workers, the ability to give and receive feedback is crucial to the health and development of the relationship.
Until next time, peace.