The gift of feedback.

Here’s something that’s very difficult for me. So often, at the end of practice, the teacher will say, “I’ll be in the lobby. Happy to chat or listen to feedback.” And, yet, the few times I’ve shared feedback, my comments have not been received in a way that’s comfortable for me. This past week, saying “The Warrior I sequence was hard for me today. It didn’t feel natural to move from the first posture to the second…” received the response “I thought it worked really well.” At which point the conversation stopped and I went on my way, feeling sad and devalued.

I’ve learned over time that when the behavior of someone else upsets me, it has less to do with them and more to do with something happening inside me. And, I continue to learn that there’s a bigger lesson attached to every single incident in my life.

Any feedback – positive or negative – can provide valuable information. Right? Then why is it so hard to accept? I’ve been contemplating feedback I receive in my own life and I’ve been working to accept it with grace. To acknowledge the gift that comes from another person sharing their thoughts and giving me information that, if I let it, could help me on my quest to become a whole person. Sometimes it’s stinking difficult, but I’m slowly getting better at it.

But, what about the feedback I give myself? The messages my body gives me multiple times a day. “I need you to breathe more deeply.” “I’m tired. Please slow down.” “Get off the couch. I need some exercise!” Why is it so hard to accept the gift my body is putting right in front of me? It’s giving me very clear direction on what it needs and when. I’ve learned that when I listen to it the first time it speaks, things go better for me. The longer I wait and the louder is has to shout at me, the harder things get. My body doesn’t feel well. It gets achy. My bones make funny popping sounds. And, yet, I resist.

I think it comes down to ego. I want to think I know better than another person, or I think I’m stronger or smarter than my own body. The irony of this is that I’ve spent years learning to hear my body. And now I hear it – loud and clear – and it’s incredibly easy for me to blow it off. What the heck?

If accepting feedback is a challenge for you, too, maybe you’d like to join me in today’s intention: Practice accepting feedback. From those around me and from my own body and spirit. To accept it as a gift, not as a judgment, and to acknowledge it as a necessary and lovely part of life.




2 thoughts on “The gift of feedback.

  1. So, the thing about feedback, is that it is rarely totally about you, and that is hard to remember. It is almost always, mostly, about the student. This last week I had the spectrum of feedback from my math students. A fellow teacher came to me to tell me one of her former students was really struggling in my class, and wanted to switch teachers! It was hard to hear, but made me focus on some very specific things I could do to help that student. I felt like a shitty teacher, but it felt good to make some changes in my approach in that class.

    Then, a different student out of the blue told me how my teaching style worked so much better for them than their other math teachers. That, ironically, was as hard to hear as the constructive criticism. The first situation required that I work to make some changes. The second situation required that I maintain and enhance the strengths I already have. At the end of the day, the message is that I need to remember to reflect on how I can get better, and that I am already good the way I am. Finally, the criticism and praise are about where the student is located, and I need to try and meet them there.

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