The month of September is dedicated to embracing your “too much” self. Remember, we can’t fit into someone else’s rules or their life, so let’s not try. I was asked a question about last week’s episode, “How do I not get angry or frustrated with the person who gave me the selfish feedback?” The phenomenal question, the answer is by empathizing with them.
Many times feedback is disguised as a gift for us but in reality, it’s a gift someone is trying to give themselves. They are sharing feedback because they are feeling inferior. One of those sayings: you can become the tallest building by tearing others down or growing yourself. They are trying to tear you down. Last week we talked about asking questions to confirm that the feedback is true, factual, constructive feedback that is meant to propel you forward, not simply pull you back to everyone else’s level. (Go check it out if you missed it.)
Now, once you realize a person’s feedback was given to you to make you smaller, no doubt you could be a bit frustrated, angry even. When that happens you’re not going to be small, you’re going to be a force to reckon with! This means they will continue to feel inferior, less than, and that could very well put a strain on your relationship. The feedback actually had the opposite effect . . .they don’t know what to do now. And you are untrusting of this individual.
Is that your fault, your problem, or even a thought you need to worry about? Usually, I would tell you no. But, if you care about this person, you want to help him/her, or you simply want to maintain a positive relationship with them, empathy is where you need to go next.
Empathy is putting yourself in their shoes, understanding how they feel, how they see the world, how the world sees them, etc. You seek to understand their fears, their perspective, and you learn WHY they are giving you the feedback that really isn’t about you, but is about them and their weaknesses.
Seek to understand their worldview. Even if you don’t share your empathy verbally with them, do this exercise. I am challenging you to step in and understand this person. When you do that, not only will their feedback not hurt you or cause you to change unnecessarily, but it will diminish your feelings of frustration and anger that can naturally arise in this situation. You don’t have to like their methods, but you can understand their fears about why they did what they did.
Do you see how powerful that is? You go from a position of being made to feel small to becoming even stronger, staying true to yourself, understanding the other person’s worldview, and instead of being angry and making them feel smaller than they already do, you empathize and try to help/support them. Keep your power!