I hold an assessment that I generally find it much easier to accept negative feedback than I do positive feedback. For me, negative feedback is an opportunity to grow, and so I welcome it. My relationship with positive feedback is a little more complex and I feel as though I am continually learning how to accept it in a way that serves me. I think it is because I went through a stage where I told myself that I shouldn’t need positive feedback, and so I refused to allow it to be important to me.

Recently, I found myself in yet another learning moment when I received some positive feedback via email. Although I feel as though I accepted the feedback graciously and gratefully, I don’t feel as though I was genuinely giving myself permission to accept, feel and believe the feedback.

Feedback, good or bad, is someone’s assessment, and it is up to us to determine whether we give authority to those assessments. However, I wasn’t even considering the feedback. I was simply saying thank you and then doing nothing with it.

This was fascinating. I have been working hard to make a name for myself as a coach, a writer, and a contributor to the ontological community. Yet, upon receiving positive feedback in these domains, I have simply ignored it and not allowed myself to take anything from it. I was curious about why this might be the case. It was interesting that I arrived right back at a much earlier exploration of being respect worthy. I like to think that I have really been trying to make a solid effort as a coach, a writer and a contributor to the ontological community. However, it occurred to me that I had not allowed myself to acknowledge that I was worthy of respect in each of these domains.

This led to an amazing reflection around being respect worthy and, in particular, what it would take for me to consider being respect worthy as a possibility for me in new situations. I also looked at how I could use positive feedback as an opportunity to learn. I had been assuming that there was nothing to learn from positive feedback; surely there was something?

In a moment of creativity, I decided that the next time I received positive feedback, I would accept it as an acknowledgement of my efforts to date, and I would visualise it finding its way through my body, into my heart and soul. If someone was taking the time to share their assessments, then perhaps I could show gratitude for their efforts by taking it on board and allowing it to serve me.

And so I did. I adjusted my shoulders, and I imagined the feedback flowing into my heart. I allowed myself to accept the acknowledgement of my efforts to date. And, I felt an amazing peace and comfort as I did so.

Points to Ponder…

  • How are you accepting positive feedback?
  • How is that serving you?

As a leadership and life coach, I help people explore how they are being in their interactions as leaders and in life. I use the Be. Do. Learn. approach to assist people in shifting their obstacles and turning them into pathways. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please contact me via the Leading and Being website or via email: deanne@leadingandbeing.com  

Featured Image Source: With thanks to John Hain from Pixabay

5 thoughts on “Not Everyone Finds Accepting Positive Feedback Easy

  1. It is hard to accept positive feedback, you never know what to say in return and end up brushing it off. I think with negative or constructive comments, it is easier to take as we are always so hard on ourselves that we don’t expect positivity from others…well I feel that’s me anyway. I do clam up with positive feedback and just say thank you, and may revisit it in my head some time later. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have found it difficult. I have a whole story about why, which I won’t go into here. I used to find an excuse to push the feedback away – eg “Thanks but I didn’t really do anything” – until my previous learning around being respect worthy, where I realised that this wasn’t serving me. Now, I say thank you and sometimes I will say something that acknowledges it, such as “Thank you, I was quite proud of how that worked out” or “Thank you, there were quite a few people who worked together to deliver that and I thought we worked together well”. This time around, I was accepting the feedback well and wasn’t allowing myself to take it on board. Perhaps looking at what is happening in the body while receiving feedback, pausing, and readjusting (eg take a breath, adjust shoulders or whatever is useful) before responding might be helpful?

      Liked by 1 person

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