No one likes to be criticized, or receive feedback that is anything less-than-positive. In fact, negative feedback has become such a stigma in our culture that there are trainings and suggestions on how to give negative feedback, such as the “compliment sandwich” in which a critique is sandwiched in-between two positive statements.
What’s more, everyone knows the feeling of anxiety–and sometimes downright fear–that is associated with the anticipation of negative feedback and criticism. For example, if you’re a college student who’s bombed a test or an essay, thinking about your grade or professor’s comments on your work can be enough to cause a stomach ache. Or, if you’re a professional in the workplace who makes a project mistake, and your boss requests that you come into their office, the anticipation of knowing that the meeting isn’t going to go well can be extremely stressful.
Changing the Way You Anticipate and View Criticism
But what if you could change the way that you think about negative feedback, training yourself to actually look forward to criticism rather than trying to avoid it? This was exactly the focus of a recent TED podcast delivered by Adam Grant, and succinctly summarized by The New York Times. Grant explains that avoiding negative feedback is so deeply ingrained in most of us that we will actually have a physical response to it–breathing becomes shallow and rapid, heart rate goes up–and that some of us may even reshape our social networks to avoid those who critique us.
But criticism doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, criticism can be helpful when it comes to self-improvement, and receiving criticism is something that we could all get better at.
How to Improve How You Feel About Negative Feedback
As explained by Grant, the foundation for changing how you feel about negative feedback lies in “trusting that everyone is participating in good faith,” and therefore that the feedback is being given not because the individual delivering it hates you or is out to get you, but honestly wants to see improvements and cares to help you reach a greater level of success. In order to be able to accept this truth, you must practice the delivery of negative feedback yourself – do so honestly and kindly, and don’t beat around the bush. Consider your motives for delivering the feedback; is it to shame the other person, or aid them?
Transforming Anxiety into Self Improvement
If you are able to reshape the way that you view criticism, you will eventually be able to transform the anxiety that you experience, and the information you receive, into useable data for self improvement. Indeed, Grant says that you should associate negative feedback with opportunity, not anxiety.
Take the First Steps Today
If you are ready to get your anxiety under control and take action to change the way that you anticipate, receive, and use criticisms, Nadia Khalil can help. Nadia is a personal life coach living in California who believes that happiness and success are a result of transforming your mind, body, and soul. To learn more and take the first steps today, contact Nadia online to schedule your private one-on-one consultation.