The other night I was a whiny wife… “You don’t initiate spending time with me!” “I’m always the one who has to make plans.” “Invite me to do something fun wiiiith yooooooou!” It was one of my finer human moments let me tell you… really pretty.
After some defensive (and pretty true) comments Craig said, “I’m going to consider your criticisms and try to make myself better because of them.”
“Whoa! What! I’m not criticizing! Criticism is harsh and unloving… I’m telling you that I’m lonely and just exactly how you can love me better. Not criticizing!”
In hindsight my rational adult self can see how this misunderstanding could have possibly come about.
I was quite relieved to find out that Craig’s commitment to turn my (totally valid, but somewhat juvenile) concerns into a tool for self improvement, was not solely a product of his own wisdom and maturity. (Because really I could not handle the pressure of being married to someone so wise and mature).
Craig’s decision to turn my lemons into lemonade was due to a conversation he had with a work mate that happened well before I made my… ahem… speech. It was based on a quote from Elon Musk:
“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
Pretty heavy duty right? I’m pretty sure adopting this advice in my life would cause me to crumple as a person. While I agree that it’s a good idea to learn to accept other’s less than glowing feedback, without bursting in to tears and burning your life’s work in a backyard bonfire, there also needs to be a time to recognize and celebrate a job well done and be satisfied with your end product.
In case you couldn’t tell I’m really not that great at receiving criticism. Admittedly I’m not that practiced at it either. I rarely ask for an outside editor to weigh in on my writing. I make it clear that I am fishing for compliments when I ask for opinions (I think Craig sometimes dreads the words “How do you like supper tonight?). I dread hearing the ways something I’ve put my sweat tears and effort into could be improved.
Would I like to be better at accepting feedback? Probably… It would certainly be good to view things from a different perspective. It seems like that takes some practice though… and how scary is that!?
What are your tips for handling feedback? Are feedback and criticism the same thing? Are you good or bad at accepting criticism?