Feedback is not a direct reflection of you, your worth, or your ability. It’s an insight into the person giving it.
Growing up in the performance industry, I was exposed to a lot of feedback from a very young age. Whilst training one day, my boss told me get in the cupboard and strip down to my underwear – where she, and our choreographer looked me up and down humming and harring and making comments about my body, as though I wasn’t in the room.
After my once over, they finally told me why I was standing next to brooms in my undies, we had just won a gig where we’d be dancing for a clothing launch – but I was too short and had ‘tap’ thighs, so thank you but I wouldn’t be used this time round.
I had countless interactions like this, where I was told
I was too much of this, or not enough of that
and I had two choices:
- to let it get to me, and spend my life trying to fit into others wants OR
- not let other’s opinions shake my opinion and love for myself.
I chose the second path.
In life there will be countless time where you’ll be given feedback and told how you should look and behave, what you should or shouldn’t be doing, YET it doesn’t have to mean anything about who you are as a person. It’s when we take feedback to heart and make it mean something about our strengths, abilities, weaknesses or worth, that it stings and leads to feelings of defensiveness, shame, and anger.
In reality, feedback is about the person giving it.
So, if you find yourself getting worked up, or tied in knots over feedback, try looking at it as information gathering about that person
- What does it tell you about their needs, fears, and personal experiences?
- How does this relate to the context in which they are giving you the feedback?
From there you can make an informed decision on what you want to take forward or not, based off your own needs, values, and experiences.