How to Hear Positive Feedback (Instead of Criticism)
Updated: Aug 22
When you get feedback, how do you feel afterwards? Do you feel energized and ready to tackle things with a new perspective? Or dejected, as if you’ve done something wrong?
Feedback, by itself, is rarely all good or all bad. It’s actually how we react to feedback that defines whether it’s positive or negative.
However, when the feedback is about something that we’ve worked hard on or is personal to us, it can be difficult not to take it personally. Here are some tips on how to hear positive feedback, instead of sharp criticism, when other people share their opinions.
Step Back and Breathe
Your first instinct is most likely to be defensive, and to try to justify your decisions. Take a moment to step away from the feedback and listen to your feelings. What is it that is making you react this way? Do you honestly disagree with the feedback, or are you irritated or embarrassed that there are areas for improvement?
Identifying why you’re upset is the first step to moving past those emotions and being able to take the feedback constructively, so give yourself space to accept those negative feelings and then let them go.
Remind yourself that everyone is human and we all make mistakes. This does not make you an outright failure. Far from it! The smartest and most successful people are the ones that listen to those around them and embrace opportunities for growth.
Look for a Lesson
Almost always, there is something to learn from feedback. Whatever mistake you might have made or improvement there is to do, think of this as an opportunity for growth and to do even better next time.
What’s more, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Nobody knows everything. If this feedback has flagged an area you need to learn more about, ask the person who gave the advice for guidance, or seek it out elsewhere. We never stop learning!
Seek out Follow-up
Down the line, consider asking this person for another opinion, after you’ve made some changes. It’s always helpful to get an outside perspective as you progress.
How do you feel about receiving feedback? I hope these tips have helped you gain a new perspective. Share this article if you enjoyed it - and be sure to check out my new resource about clarity, right here.