(Otherwise known as criticism)I am very fortunate to have a few friends who, upon reading one of my articles, feel completely free enough to give me feedback (advice) as to their response. I gratefully accept the feedback and often find the advice helpful in continuing to frame my efforts at growth and personal overcoming of issues in my life.
There is an old adage that says, “silence means consent.” After “Googling” this phrase I found numerous uses for it. However, what intrigues me is what is being consented to? Is the lack of response an indication that the ideas presented are just another ranting of a “whacko?” Is the silence recognition that some part or all of the idea is an exaggeration that does not fit anyone? Or, is the silence the acceptance of some theme that is recognized as common to many of us? How in the world does one know?
Ah, but there are those who dare to speak from their own hearts, whether it be in agreement or in lively discussion of opposing views. In this response there is hope for greater understanding for all parties in the discussion. Most of us read and find ourselves mentally or emotionally agreeing or disagreeing with the ideas presented. We may find a measure of enlightenment through the inner dialogue initiated by the reading.
Feedback can be a powerful beginning to broader understanding of a subject. Being willing to examine feedback can begin the process of opening the mind to yet another way of viewing an issue. Finally, however, feedback becomes most useful, in my opinion, when it motivates a person to behave differently as a result of the broader understanding. What do I do differently after receiving feedback that broadens my viewpoint? Do I listen more closely to others? Am I slower to react to the apparent judgment of others toward me? Am I more helpful or encouraging to those who need a lift up?
Each of us determines how we will respond to feedback that comes our way as a result of something we have said or done. Getting angry or feeling hurt by the criticism (feedback) from others will only make things worse. If we can look at feedback as informative rather than a judgment, the chances are good that we will benefit from a change in our behavior in some way. Such a change can result in more harmony, peace of mind and general well-being in life. Taking appropriate time to evaluate our feedback also gives us time to more appropriately consider the source.