It can be a challenge to hear feedback - particularly feedback that you would rather NOT hear; the kind of feedback that feels uncomfortable because it incites our inner critic to get active. We want to stop this kind of feedback at the path because it might point to making changes which are out of our comfort zone. Or we might feel uncomfortably 'wrong' or 'bad'. Or feel self-righteous as the victim in us can feel the unfairness of it all. Whatever the feeling, the end result is a sense of separation - our hearts close down - which doesn't feel good.
In our intimate relationships, opening ourselves to feedback - all feedback - can be a courageous act. If we live in the perspective that we must be altogether in order to be loved, it is particularly scary to hear whatever our partner has to say. We feel especially vulnerable.
It's important to keep in mind that we all make projections - place on others what is disowned or disliked within ourselves. Yet, when someone projects onto us something that they don't like, it can fit us as well. It's that piece that becomes our responsibility to look at and choose for ourselves if we want to do something about it.
What I know is that when I don't defend my behaviour and, instead, truly listen and get curious, I get to know my mate so much better. I get what it feels like to suppress what I'm feeling or thinking as I've been down that road in the past. It builds walls. Instead, I want to offer my mate the freedom of expression that I want for myself, too. When I open up to this and actually invite it by saying, "Hmmm, I have a knawing feeling in my gut, is there something here that needs to be talked about?", the air waves between us feel open and connected. The freedom to say what is happening within me and hear what is happening in another keeps communication flowing downstream.
I'm still learning. I invite feedback. From a place of love and respect, I encourage those around me to share what is upsetting them. Knowing and being known is important to me. I get to decide how I respond - whether to change my behaviour or not.
© 2009 Jeannie Campanelli, Inner Confidence Coaching. All Rights Reserved.
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Jeannie Campanelli, Ed.D, CPCC, partners with naturally-giving men and women who often put other people’s needs in front of their own. As a consequence, they are not connected to themselves. Jeannie offers a free e-newsletter titled “Notes on Claiming Your Life as Your Own” to support you in feeling the serenity, vitality and wholeness that comes from inner confidence. When you subscribe, you will receive a free guided visualization to support you in this journey home to yourself. Visit www.innerconfidencecoaching.com.