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!