Finding the courage to create a joyful life

Posts tagged ‘Feedback’

Communication, Feedback and Other Fine Ambiguities

Have you ever really looked at how you communicate or don’t with other people?

Have you ever noticed that when you are given feedback that people will often try to make the feedback palatable, and in doing so the communication becomes ambiguous leaving a lot of room for misinterpretation?

In a recent exchange I got to experience this first hand.  I was given feedback in the form of a statement where it was suggested that perhaps I was reading too much and not experiencing the learning.  Well I tell you what, this statement brought up every ounce of not good enough and  not doing it right that could ever be possible for me.

Doing my personal work has allowed me to recognize that these statements were the little voice in my head speaking. This voice often does me no favors.  I have the propensity at times to believe what this little voice says is true.On the flip side, I am  beginning to recognize that this voice starts talking because I am hearing something that is not being said or putting in meaning that is not really there (this is where the ambiguous part comes in.)

With this experience I decided to return to the person who made the statement for clarity. So the conversation went round and round trying to be clear in what I was hearing.  The person with whom I was speaking was continuing to be non-direct until finally they had negated everything they had originally given feedback about.  I then asked what they were really trying to communicate.  At this point the feedback became more direct. I was asked the question “Are you using reading as a way of checking out and not experiencing what is going on around you?”

For me the statement about reading too much and not experiencing the learning and the question “Are you using reading as a way of checking out and not experiencing what is going on around you?” are vastly different.  The second question for me leaves no room for that not good enough voice, that doing it wrong voice. It offers me a place to check in.

The interesting thing is that further conversation shared that the person giving the feedback delivered it in that ambiguous fashion in order to stay safe, be heard, and avoid confrontation.  The kicker is in avoiding confrontation, misunderstanding actually created confrontation. In speaking in ambiguous terms the situation of not being heard was created.

I sit and ponder how often I try to communicate in that “nice” ambiguous way and by doing so create more issues than were there with the feedback I was attempting to give in the first place? Or worse, I communicate in that ambiguous fashion to be nice and then end up  with frustration and anger that surface because I am not being heard.

I think my learning over the past few days looks like this.  It is important in human relationships to communicate directly.  I must ask what is true for me to communicate instead of trying to couch feedback in ambiguous language to avoid confrontation or stay safe. I could also say there is much learning in letting go of the need to be heard, and that is another conversation entirely.

The biggest learning for me though is how self critical my little voice becomes when feedback becomes too broad.  This is a constant point of choosing to be loving to myself instead of tearing myself down.  I now recognize that in choosing to love myself I am choosing to speak clearly and directly. I am also choosing to make new agreements with the people in my world asking them to say what needs to be said directly, in the form of a question. this way I may look directly at the question instead of making all kinds of CRAP up about what is trying to be said.  That feels more loving for sure!

The Learning Power of Feedback

  Learning From Feedback  

For those of you who know me personally, you know that Feedback is on    of  my biggest nemeses of life.  While I love to give feedback, looking at the feedback from others is very difficult for me. I suppose that is true for many since it is often difficult to look at our own stuff.

For me the most difficult part is taking all the feedback very personally!  You see, my Ego wants to constantly tell me that “I am what you think of me.” The reality is though that what you think of me says nothing about me and everything about you, the person who is providing the feedback.  This distinction is great mental learning, yet it is difficult for me to embody in the midst of a conversation.

I have found that my reaction is often very visceral and physical when I feel the feedback coming toward me, and I am sure that at times this has given some very interesting feedback to those I am interacting with.  The body language in bracing physically or drawing away is often not great for interpersonal communication. The energetic drawing away can really give some interesting messages too.

The amazing part  is I have the same reaction regardless of the feedback being positive or negative. In fact, it is almost more difficult for me to receive the positive messages that I am given.  This is where I use my personal energy to block as much as possible.  I am sure you have encountered people just like this or perhaps you are one. It is odd to encounter the person who deflects positive feedback. Messages of the interactions are confusing at best. It is even more difficult to look at the fact that is how I show up in the world.

Observing feedback from a place of Essence, a place of love, provides much learning. 

Observing family members who stuff their emotions until they explode, rather than express them, has shown me the value of constantly moving my emotions in the moment. This is a skill that takes practice for sure!  In the past though I would (and still sometimes do) take the emotional explosions personally and as attacks. This is when my feedback responses kick in super strongly, even to the point of Fighting back.  The reality though is that the whole experience is nothing but the other person’s over flowing of their suppressed emotions. The whole thing really says nothing about me.

I find though, if I look deeper, often these experiences can serve as my greatest teachers.  I have learned how anger, mine or anyone’s, is really just their fear flowing out.  I have learned that addressing the fear really is what changes the dynamics of the situation.  I have learned to ask of myself more often “what am I feeling?”  I have learned to look in the mirror of the situations I am confronted with to find the nugget of what learning is there for me. Most importantly I am learning that staying away from the opinion of others, good or bad, keeps me in a place of balance and flow. It keeps me in a place of confidence and loving me.

All this because I am not what you think of me, though my Ego would like me to believe that I am.

When I focus on my Essence I can stay in the natural place of love and compassion for whatever I encounter, taking the learning and leaving the drama. 

Such an easeful way of life! Ahhhhhhh! I wonder why I have chosen to live differently for so long?