0 comments on “What I Do with Unsolicited Feedback.”

What I Do with Unsolicited Feedback.

Sweet one. I was reminded of something this morning, and so I wonder if it something you need reminded of as well.

You’re ok. You’re human – we all make mistakes. You will drop the ball sometimes. You’re not in this alone.

I am a bit of a creator kind. Not in an artist kind of way. But a just put stuff together kind of way. Stuff that I love and am passionate about.

And I create when I feel inspired. Groups. Books. Content. Gatherings. Blogs. Instagram posts.

Not much more than most people I guess. But I love it.

A while back I created this little group, filled with creators as well. Motivated and inspired.

Recently with some illness in my life, and illness in one of my little kid-lets life, some of my creations..well, I am sad to say had to take a back seat.

And not everyone gets that. And it isn’t fair to expect them to.

Today, I was reminded of my absence. I was reminded of where I was hard on myself for ‘dropping the ball’. I got a message today from someone who isn’t enjoying a group that I have created.

When I received it, I gotta say, it stung a little. I mean, feedback can sting when it isn’t glowing, right? Something you have created someone doesn’t like. Their expectations aren’t met. That can suck arse!

I have an old pattern of wanting to include everyone and make sure everyone is ok.

I have an old belief system that says, “everyone before you”.

And when I got ill, I had to really challenge this. Like really!

Making sure I try to keep everyone is happy is an old pattern. Making sure everyone is doing ok and if they aren’t, I would try to move heaven and earth to make sure they were ok.

People placating. People pleasing.

I would have never have thought that I was a people pleaser once upon a time. But it is years of paying attention to how I feel in certain interactions that I have become aware of it.

Making sure everyone else was looked after first. Then attend to my needs.

Can I life hack this for you? Let give you the tip first hand, that this will end up in exhaustion and depletion!

So, I get this message telling me they love the group…..BUT……and then of course, tells me their truth.

When I used to manage people for work, I would never take too kindly to someone coming to me with ‘problems without potential solutions’. You know..no ownership in the problem and or potential solutions for said problems.

This message didn’t have much in the solution department.

I read the message.

And my body reacts as it usually does when I feel like I have let someone down, or am being criticised or that someone isn’t ok with something I have done. And I have come to see that my body wants to react in one of two ways.

  1. It wants to defend. Stand up straight and get ready to use that razor sharp tongue to shut it down.
  2. It wants to hide. Get the hell away from it as fast as it can and pretend nothing is wrong.

And these are completely acceptable human responses.

But they aren’t responses that I am vining with much these days. They are like so 2015 😉

I have come to experience a 3rd way though. After a lot of ‘growing up’ and uprooting a lot of old beliefs.

I really like this third way and works so well for me most of the time. I have become really great mates with it. It has room for tweeks and improvements I am sure, but for now, I am in the groove with it.

It is a 4 step way. In REALLY big deals, I use 5…but I’ll fill you in on that if I need to use it going forward.

For now, this little thing needed my 4 little steps.

And it is this.

  1. Do not do anything….except breathe. Just notice all the human stuff that happens when we feel threatened. Afraid. Attacked….And just breathe. Deep. Feel the feelings that the scared little body is feeling. And breathe.

In really, really brutal attacks..I would reach out to my support crew.

Not call someone up and bitch about it. Not send a message to someone and tell them all about the horror and terror. Not spreading the issue.

Just breathe. To calm the system. To remind the body that there is in fact nothing to fear.

We have come to see that a modern day ‘feedback’ note can have what might be described as an ancestral reaction.

A modern day perceived threat triggers our oldest survival centres in our brain and we prepare to fight the perceived attack or run from the thing. But when we look, there is nothing there. Only an image we have in our heads of what it means to receive this ‘feedback’.

And with some breath, we can see, there is nothing there except a bunch of words and someone’s perception.

The second thing I do is a good old trick I learnt from my old mate Brene Brown. The flight and fight response is very similar to a shame attack. A feeling that we are bad in some way, and a ‘feedback’ note could in fact trigger old wounds around not being good enough, letting people down and being shit. But they are just my old wounds.

2. Own your story and ‘First draft’ it. This is a #truthbomb on steroids. The first draft is a letter written, usually by hand, to the dealer of the perceived threat. All your true feelings. How it feels in your body. Why you are feeling the way you are.

Some folks think that they will manifest something bad for the person they are writing about if they write it. But that isn’t your intention right. The INTENTION is to tell the truth about how you feel.

YOU OWN the feelings. No suppression. No hiding. No trying to be all ‘nice’ and ‘perfect’. Just telling the truth. When we bury the story, we stay forever in the subject of the story.

Once you tell the truth…you BURN THAT THING or run it under water and scrunch it up! No one except you needs to see it. Sometimes, if you are really hot and bothered, you might need 2 or 3 drafts….for your eyes only!

Phew. That feels better right? Telling the truth? And interestingly as you go through it, you see that it has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with how you received it!

The third thing is vital.

3. Inject compassion. Self compassion. Self kindness. Speak to yourself (out-loud if you need to like me) like you would to your best mate who is having a tough time.

“Jen, it’s ok. You haven’t done anything wrong. You are doing your best and not everyone is going to see that. Be kind to yourself Jen. This isn’t a big deal”. 

OH AND THIS FEEDBACK EXPERIENCE NEEDS A 3a..

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3a is UBER important when it comes to feedback. If you receive feedback from anyone, anyone at all…if they are not in the arena that you are in and not getting their but kicked..then their feedback needs scaled down ya’ll. I learnt that off my old mate Brene as well. Boom!

And finally, number 4. Act in a way that is in alignment with who you want to be. Me, I want to be brave and I want to be real. So, for me, in this case, after I did all my steps, I responded. Like a grown up. Without the tantrum of my first draft. I didn’t try to fix anything.

I commended them on their bravery to provide feedback in the first place. And I meant it. I know it takes courage to speak up. To speak out. And I am totally in awe of that!

Then, I gave 3 possible options they could consider taking themselves. Often we look to others to ‘fix’ perceived problems without really wanting to be part of the solution. It is certainly easier to point the finger at someone and tell them what they are doing wrong, instead of acting in a way that you would like to see.

Remember that good old quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Thanks Ghandi wise person!

Waiting around for others to make your like the way you want it will 100% of the time end in disappointment.

Thank god for the feedback, or what would I have written about today I wonder??

AND I can look to improve the experience, because if they are feeling it, it is quite possible others are as well. What a winning kind of day! x

Forward step!

Big love

Jen

xx

0 comments on “Here I Sit With My Candle in the Darkness”

Here I Sit With My Candle in the Darkness

The gift of being a bit older, being in my forties is that I have lived long enough to experienced some amazingly light and brilliant experiences and also, so mucky and dark adventures as well.

Today marks the 6 weeks point that I had spinal surgery. When I write that I wonder if by calling it that it sounds a lot worse than maybe it was. In a couple of hours I’ll return to see the surgeon who carefully released the pressure that was on my sciatic nerve. Milestone.

Not long before I had the surgery, like days before, after months and months of being in excruciating pain we had a few folks around for one of the kidletts birthdays.

A group gathered as they usually do at the tall table outside, sharing stories and chattering away.

That day, I had to double my dose of pain killers, just to get through that day.

I wonder if they would have known how much pain I was in. I carried on as best I could.

As I stood in pain at the end of the table, I quietly admitted how scared I was to have surgery. Spinal surgery. An operation that I had decided on the day of seeing the surgeon (and my MRI results). An operation that would be happening in the next few days.

And call it sooky la la or weakness…I call it afraid.

Do you ever get afraid (I hope so, it’s human)? If you do what are you afraid of?

Being so successful that you wont have anyone of your old tribe to support you. That you’ll be isolated?

Talking in front of a large group of people?

Being lost out at sea?

Sharks? [me too… Although, ask me sometime about my grade 8 talk of ‘How I would overcome a shark if I was confronted by one’].

Blood?

Heights?

Spiders?

The truth?

Everyone has something that rattles their cage a little. Some, a lot.

For me, having spinal surgery was it.

And I didn’t even know it was, until I was faced with it.

I had to pull out all the big guns. All the things that I knew could support me through this. Mediations, Breath work. Writing. Support from my key tribe folk. 

And I was doing pretty good.

As I stood at the end of that table, sharing my fear quietly to one of the other party-goers, someone overheard me from the other end of the table and without skipping a beat, barrels down the table;

“Oh suck it up. At least you’re not……” and gave me a good example of why I shouldn’t be feeling the way I was feeling. Making another situation (that was legitimately scary) a ‘real’ reason to feel afraid.

You know how yesterday I wrote about that shame feeling thing I got after watching that dude talk for 12 minutes…well, that is exactly what happened to me in that moment.

What they said triggered off a thought process in me that made me believe I wasn’t worthy to feel the way I was feeling. And that I was bad for feeling that way.

Comparative shaming it’s called. I learnt that term from my old mate Dr Brene Brown (also mentioned in yesterday’s blog ) .

This is when we compare something we have or haven’t done with something someone else and devaluing our own experience. And example might be that you are in a room full of people and you don’t want to share about your recent marriage problems because you know that someone else in the room is battling cancer. And the person who is battling cancer doesn’t want to share their experience because they know that someone else in the room just lost a child. And the person who just lost a child doesn’t want to share their story because they know someone is the room was born blind.

And on and on it goes. Round and around. All afraid to own our story because we believe it isn’t worthy or ‘bad enough’.

As someone who spent half of her life trying to “Suck it up”, “don’t let anyone see you are vulnerable” what I know about doing this stupid, culturally ‘appropriate’ thing is it contributes to the disconnection to the one thing that humans crave most.

The one thing that humans seek as a part of not only their DNA, but as a universal design feature….

Love and belonging.

Sucking it up is a response when folks can’t deal with someone’s vulnerability, because they can’t deal with their own.

Compassion is in direct opposition to ‘suck it up’.

Compassion.

Pema Chodron says it in a way that resonates with me deeply and governs all the work I do on this planet.

“Compassion is knowing your darkness well enough that you can sit in the darkness with others”.

Just contemplate that for a second.

Knowing your darkness.

What are darkness bits? What are those aspects of yourself that you don’t want anyone else to see. Those stories. Those fears. Those truths? The parts of you that remain locked away in some cupboard, boarded up so that no one can see them.

Sit in the darkness with others.

What are you like with other people’s pain and discomfort.

Are you able to sit with them, be with them. Hold the space with them. Without wanting to ‘lighten’ things up, or ‘love and light’ it away?

I’m still learning to be with my own pain and the pain of others. I absolutely get it wrong. I totally want to bounce out of suffering, mine and yours, at times.

That day, at the table, I had little compassion for myself. I bought in to the shame speak. I wanted to leap out of the shame pain and not feel what I felt. On reflection, it would have been the best time to step away and do the old Jill Bolte Taylor “one-minute-and-thirty-seconds deal” (also in yesterday’s blog).

It took me more than 90 seconds to remove that splinter and to feel the shame and the pain of what was said to me. I am still removing fragments of a multi-generational culture that a lot of us still marinate in. The “suck it up” isn’t working folks. Well, it sure as shit isn’t for me.

And before you worry about this being a blame game on the dude who gave me the ‘suck it up’ direction…if you read yesterday’s blog, or have read anything of mine or know me at all, you know this isn’t about blaming anyone. This is about using everything that triggers us as an opportunist to grow and expand and to let go of all the stuff that isn’t kind.

I’m just over 6 weeks wiser now.

I made it through the surgery. I allowed myself to feel the discomfort of my fear. I told those who were supporting me, I was afraid. And those people supported me, accepted me and were able to be with my darkness….without so much as a straw in sight 😉

Today, or tomorrow, or whenever you feel it (because you will) if you are really afraid or experiencing a mucky patch…or if you are hurting or feel isolated, let this be the opportunity for you to know that you are not alone in this life thing. If you are being told to ‘suck it up’ and ‘get over it’, let me be here to remind you that that is old bullshit conditioning that came from folks who were too afraid to feel the truth….say, “thanks but no thanks”.

Here I sit in the dark. Waiting with my candle. Providing space for us to get to know our darkness a little more.

With all my love.

Jen

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