The Gift of Feedback

I got an email this week with instructions to read a document and be prepared to give honest input. My colleague wrote, “Feedback is a gift.”

There are times this is accurate. Other people notice things about us we don’t see. When something is brought to our attention, we can discontinue spinning our wheels and make  changes.

Feedback can shape how we see ourselves for the better, or not.

Milly was my first supervisor in the counseling field. She was really into giving staff her opinion in a blunt, no nonsense way. Milly was wise, experienced and we all respected her. Her word was law. I didn’t always want to hear what Milly had to say. She could be harsh, but accurate. She laid the foundation for my counseling and writing skills. She taught me about how traumatized children experience the world and what my role was. I don’t remember her exact statement about my writing style. I just remember the takeaway message was, “You suck.” Which my mind morphed into, avoid any and all attempts at writing forever. I didn’t interpret her comments as something to work on. In my 23 year old mind, I accepted this as fact and an undeniable weakness set in stone. Milly was right about so many other things. She obviously knew what she’s talking about.

I don’t think about Milly much, or why I view my writing the way I do. Her disapproval planted a seed that flourished into a belief system.

Now when I get criticism, I have a broader perspective to analyze other people’s opinions. I always look at intent. What’s this person’s goal in telling me this. Honestly, I don’t think Milly was trying to cause harm. She was probably busy, wanted me to fix something, The End. My mind twisted it into a 20 year long affliction.

I’m not sure how long my ego will be fragile around my written word. I just know it is something I can improve on.

Feedback may be a gift. A potentially far reaching, life altering, and powerful gift that keeps on giving. Be careful what you give to others.

I once read that for every negative thing we tell a child it takes 100 positive comments to undo the damage. I’m not sure if it’s accurate. But it sounds right.

Below is a text I got from a long time friend yesterday. Jeannine is very kind and has known me since I was 5. She is the type of friend that only gives positive feedback. I am very fortunate to have many sweet people in my life. The type of people who think you can do no wrong. These people really do help counteract the negative comments we receive from others.

Today is Father’s Day. My message to all the dad’s out there is; as you receive homemade gifts made of popsicle sticks and cards that leave glitter on your face all day, be careful. You are not the only one on the receiving end today. You are constantly giving your child feedback that will influence their behavior, beliefs and choices forever. In my opinion, we could all use more of the good stuff! Enjoy your day!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary says:

    Love what you have to say some days your blog get me thru others I think are are funny or interesting and realize a few days or weeks later that it was just what I need and how I needed to hear it .I am blessed to have you in my life .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. plankful says:

      Thank you so much Mary! It’s feedback like yours that keeps me blogging! I believe everyone is put in our lives for a reason! The feeling is mutual!!!


  2. This is very true. The way feedback is given can have an affect on you. I spent years hearing constructive criticism but took it to be pure criticism. Of course the teachers at my school and college weren’t the best at the way they gave their feedback and it didn’t help that they never gave any positive feedback despite my good grade results. It had a deep rooted effect for years. In fact it’s only in the last few months I’ve received truly positive feedback that I’m now able to hear the criticism without becoming depressed.
    Of course sometimes we need to hear when things we do aren’t right or could be done better but indeed it is so important to be wary how to do it.
    Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. plankful says:

      Thank you! It’s amazing how powerful words are! It takes a long time to reverse the damage even when it int true! Keep up the good work!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicky M says:

    Great post – I also have a supervisor who gives it to you straight and some days I find it really hard. It’s like I only hear the stuff I could have done differently, not the parts I did a good job at. Is this tough love?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. plankful says:

      I think our brains are attracted to the bad stuff more. We have to make an effort to hear the positive. It’s also hard to figure out if people are trying to help, or are just mean?

      Liked by 1 person

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