Criticism and feedback can be some of the hardest things to deal with, but they’re a regular part of [military] life!
I’ve received a lot of critiques and feedback, and sometimes it really stings to hear. At times, the feedback-giver is off base and I don’t apply the words to my life. However, at other times the pain reveals a real shortcoming I wasn’t previously aware of and now have the chance to work on.
I have a kind of internal process I go through when I get feedback that hurts:
IN THE MOMENT I always try to respond to the other person professionally. Especially if it triggers a strong reaction for me, I work to reign in emotions and let them know I’ll think over and consider their words. (Admittedly, this can be hard!)
AFTERWARD, I do something to release the emotion in a healthy way and get to a calmer state. Running, lifting, and meditation are some of my go-to’s.
NEXT, I process the information. I like journaling and writing things down, but you can do whatever helps you think and sort your thoughts. Why did the criticism hurt? Does the person giving it have your best in mind? Is it someone you respect? Did they have any valid points and/or examples? Is there any truth to what they said? These are the kinds of questions I *honestly* ask myself.
LASTLY, I talk to someone I’m close to and ask their opinion of the feedback. (It *has* to be someone you know will be real with you.) I try to objectively share the info and humbly ask if they see any truth in it. Personally, I also ask God to show me what to do with the feedback, to help me see and work on any flaws so I can become better.
After this process, I either decide the feedback wasn’t really applicable to me right now and move on, or I realize it was spot on and begin to apply it to my life.
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted,” and sometimes painful feedback can actually be the truth-catalyst we need to redirect and grow.
How do you deal with criticism that hurts? How do you decide what’s worth listening to and what should be thrown out?