When was the last time you received negative feedback? What was your reaction? Did you feel the need to defend yourself and try to prove something to the other person? Were you passive and then aggressive, remaining silent during the interaction but then badmouthing the person behind their back?
Although we’re not responsible for what anyone else says to us, we are responsible for how we respond – and how we respond says a lot, about us!
In the nearly two decades I’ve coach women, I’ve seen a pattern; the harder a woman is on herself the more defensive she’ll be, especially to the feedback that she perceives as negative. Even the tiniest of criticisms can feel like “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
If on the other hand, a woman has developed a healthy relationship with herself, she’s usually more receptive to negative feedback. Confident and at peace with herself, she has no need to prove anything to anyone – hence a willingness to listen to feedback and potentially grow from it.
If you’re in a position to give negative feedback, there are several things you can pray for. First, pray that God would prepare your heart as well as that of the recipient. Second, pray that God would provide the right words for you to deliver the message and that the recipient would hear only what God intended for him or her to hear. Then, leave the outcome in God’s hands. Remind yourself that the person’s reaction says more about him or her than it does about you, and trust God to use it in both of your lives.
God’s Word says that discipline may not be pleasant at the time, but it can be highly beneficial. (Hebrews 12:11) Discipline often involves giving and receiving honest feedback. To live wholeheartedly, we must increase our ability to do both.