In our communication, connection-centric world, we give tremendous value to the feedback of those around us to help us choose our actions more precisely. This helps us in exposing our blindspots, giving us a vantage point to what we might have difficulty seeing within ourselves.
Feedback does serve this essential role. No doubt it is important. However, what we don’t take into account is the dysfunctional manner in which feedback is often delivered and received.
From my experience, so much of feedback is delivered with a heaping dose of bias, hidden motivations and incorrect assumptions. And on the flipside, so much of the feedback we receive is interpreted through our own filters and prejudices. That’s the reality.
So very often feedback not only ends up being a misdirected effort on the part of those sharing it, but also a burden on us who receive it. And when we give too much weight to feedback, we might gradually become out of touch with our own unique voice, true nature, or actual calling.
So much better than actively listening to feedback, I feel, is to quietly, simply, passively hear it. Simply hear it and that’s it. Even a noble quality like listening, like everything else, needs to be kept in check. I’ve found personally, and observed in others, time and time again, that listening to feedback too seriously, too intently, can lead to suffering, confusion, and cognitive angst…especially if we aren’t already grounded in our own center-of-gravity.
My feedback on feedback?
Take feedback lightly…give space for different vantage points and biases…and we should be ok. Have a general sense what others are thinking and feeling and let that inform our own voice, without getting overpowered by it. Don’t lose sight of what’s true within us and what ideals drive us. We can certainly benefit from the value of additional perspectives…but this should never be at the cost of losing touch with our own.