|Photo by Jon Tyson.|
Receiving criticism is hard for everyone -- even that motivational speaker who gushes about how criticism is a gift that allows you to improve yourself. We may have one or two areas of life that we are totally comfortable with hearing we need to do better, but there are others where our first reaction will be a rush of defensiveness.
One such area for many people is when their wokeness is challenged. If you are trying to be an ally, trying to help make the world a better place, trying to own your privilege, and trying to make space for others, criticism can feel like an attack that completely wipes out any good in you.
Don't worry, it's not! Brooke Anderson wrote a handy guide for activists on receiving critical feedback that can help us all get a little better at taking it.
Two of the pieces of advice really stood out for me:
"Trust that feedback is an offering, not an attack"
"Ask yourself, 'if this were true, what would it mean?'"
First, we trust.
Even if the person isn't doing a very good job at making it clear that their criticism is not an attack. Even if it seems really personal. Even if your heart is beating and your brain is going into panic mode. Someone is going out of their way to let you know how your actions affected them, and chances are they are feeling scared, too. Could it be an offering?
Second, we entertain it.
Even if we think they are wrong. Just imagine what it would mean if it were true. What would you do differently? Would you give an apology? Change your approach?
What a wonderful way to enter into a difficult process! Trust that it's coming from a good place and entertain the possibility that it is true, even if it seems wrong.
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