The Most Uncomfortable Feedback: COMPLIMENTS!
Feedback is a powerful tool. It can build awareness, create insights, and allows you to generally improve. But feedback can also feel negative, nitpicky, and difficult to accept. Feedback can be challenging to embrace; often taking thick skin. It also takes a certain amount of appropriate skepticism, understanding who and where it is coming from and how to use it. Lots of emotional intelligence is needed to navigate other’s comments and observations. We get it, “negative” feedback can be a lot to manage and it takes a lot of self-control to harness its powers. And don’t get me wrong, receiving feedback isn’t easy as it can feel like an attack.
But what about positive feedback? The feedback that is meant to lift you up and give you the awareness that what you are doing is right? I’m talking about compliments.
After the challenges we have in filtering and digesting constructive feedback, compliments sound like a walk in the park, but they come with an entirely different set of challenges.
Think about the last time someone told you something really nice. Complimented the work that you did or even the person that you are. Think about a couple of these instances (it feels great right). Then, think about how you reacted to that compliment? Did you accept, reject, or ignore it?
For some of us, it can be kind of hard to take a compliment. Taking the time to understand why you disregarded the compliment can give you even deeper insights.
If you readily accepted the compliment, I’m sure it’s because you believed it. You felt pride and confident in whatever you were being complimented on. It was easy because it shared the same perspective that you had on yourself. You worked hard on the report and someone compliments it, that’s aligned. It reaffirms your own self-image. Great fuel for the ego!
But what about if you don’t align with the compliment? Well, the same things that happen when you are triggered with negative feedback that you don’t align with. You reject it, ignore it, and have doubts about the messenger. But just like negative feedback, it’s important to learn from the compliment.
Take a moment and look at why you rejected it. What self-belief did this complement contradict? This is the most powerful thing you can learn from a compliment. Seriously, do you not think of yourself as collaborative, strategic, smart, creative etc… Maybe you venomously disagree with the evaluation and even expressed this. Why are you limiting what you can be when others already see it?
Have you always had a hard time accepting compliments and feeling appreciated? Do you accept and appreciate yourself?
Just like creating a vision, you will only be as big as you feel you are worth. You will only be able to accept a compliment to the level that you think you are worth it. Take a peek at how you are treating yourself and how you are accepting yourself.
The benefit of receiving outside feedback is getting a different perspective. If you were trying to sound tough and powerful but got complimented on how friendly you were, that’s a great compliment on so many levels! Who doesn’t want to be friendly while also being strong? Or maybe you weren’t being as tough as you thought you were. Use this outside perspective and appreciate others’ willingness to look for the positive.
Just remember, the compliment is simply an observation from someone’s perspective. This is an incredibly valuable insight as you are able to see into their eyes and learn about what they value, perceive and focus on. There is always a grain of truth no matter how skewed they may be from your reality. Just don’t forget to say, “Thank you” every time.