Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions
Feedback is essential to growth, so seek it as often as possible.
For most of us, feedback is a painful process. We brace to hear those things we don’t want to hear, and then feel relieved if the information is not as bad as we thought. And the feedback-givers suffer just as much! Nobody wants to say something painful to another person…unless of course they are a sadist! So why is the feedback process so difficult?
The Ego (the aspect of your mind that thinks and tells stories) believes that it is ‘you’. It is utterly convinced that everything happening in your brain…all your habitual thoughts, responses, rants, ruminations, everything…is all that you are. It cannot see beyond what it is thinking now, so it has come to the conclusion that your thoughts are you, and that ‘you’ are therefore very limited.
When you get feedback, then, you may be receiving information that may be contrary to what your Ego thinks that you are. This makes the Ego very insecure because it is threatened by a new perspective on itself. If your mind tells you that you are a great singer, for instance, and someone says that you are not…well then your Ego gets frustrated and angry because it has identified you as ‘great’ in this area. To admit that you may not be what you think you are would mean that part of the Ego would have to surrender and die…and it is not going to do this without a fight!
Your old Self, your Ego, is very wedded to who it thinks you are. It will resist all feedback because it is literally scared to death. It is terrified that it is going to perish if new perspectives are introduced. Thus you feel pain when you hear something incongruent with your current self-concept.
The problem is that if we want to grow we MUST let go of our old notions about ourselves. To improve at anything we must move from one mental place to another, and that requires ’destroying’ parts of our existing self-concept. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to open yourself to new possibilities and new perspectives…and this requires feedback.
You are getting feedback every day from the physical world. People interact with you and reflect back your projections. You are also growing every day. Each new piece of information informs a ‘new you’. You have never been as static as your Ego would have you believe…you are actually constantly growing and modifying. The key to rapid personal growth is to make this process intentional, and that means seeking and cherishing feedback.
Negative or contrary feedback does not make you bad or wrong. The negative feelings you feel are simply a frightened Ego-self. If you can see this, then you can relax knowing that you are doing the best that you can. You can open yourself to new information without judging where you are today. And then you can grow much more rapidly than you ever thought possible! Remember, most of the time people give you feedback because they care…not because they want to damage you. Open up and receive with joy!