Dear Dr. Sylvia,
The amount of criticism I’m getting now is above what I can handle.
Look, I don’t mind if someone says “Hey, fix the side of your hair, your curls are drooping.”
I don’t’ mind if someone says, “Your slip is showing.” That was just a fun mention for last’s week’s blog about Freudian Slips.
What is driving me nuts is when someone tells me to “stop talking about myself or that I am too darn dramatic.”
I am who I am and… it is what it is, as they say.
How can I tell these busybodies to mind their own business and let me be my original self?
Did you ever wonder what you look like, sound like in the brain of your colleagues or customers?
I know there is very powerful resistance to listen to critical comments (of course I understand that) yet think of this another way:
WOULD YOU RATHER BE RIGHT OR HAPPY?
Do you tend to dig your heels in to ignore comments that make you uncomfortable?
While most of us, I bet this includes you, will give lip service to feedback, there is a strong tendency to shrink away from being told anything that smacks of negativity.
Out loud do you say “Thank you for telling me. I’ll consider your comments”. And internally, you think “Who the hell do they think they are? I’m fine just the way I am”.
I know it’s not easy to hear ugly stuff. I know it takes a real effort to listen.
Some habits are good and sustain us. Think about it: what if every morning you had to relearn to brush your teeth, comb your hair, or get dressed.
Yet, way too often most of us go on automatic, not thinking about what we are doing and especially how it is impacting others.
Gandhi put it perfectly when he said we should not mistake what is habitual for what is natural.
Changing what is habitual and not working properly is what self-awareness is all about.
If you want to stop being worn out, Worn Out, you do need to choose to accept feedback in a more helpful way.
Two suggestions. Monitor your own body sensations. See if when you are told something you don’t like, do you feel it in your gut, or get a pain in the neck, or maybe feel a headache coming on?
Many of our knee-jerk basic reactions are from childhood memories when you were yelled at by a parent or bullied by kids.
This is where most of us learned to hate feedback. It was rarely given in thoughtful, well-planned ways. Usually it was a slap on the rear, or a taunt, or a detention.
Not good for learning better habits. Good for creating defensive positioning.
Find out more about your specific ways of responding in Don’t Bring It To Work
Gandhi was right. What is habitual is not natural. What is natural is, to tell the truth, be accountable, and look for ways to cooperate and accentuate creativity.
Here’s to your success,