Being Challenged to Move Beyond…
Have you ever felt like a fish out of water? This past year, if I’m honest, that’s been my reality. I’ve been involved in a process of learning how to do something that’s taking longer to figure out than I had expected it would. It happens in the context of a group, where we each get our turn at demonstrating our knowledge and skill, in front of the others. Afterwards, there’s a period of debriefing, where each member offers “feedback,” in the form of comments on what worked for them, and what didn’t.
Of course, taken in the right light, this is a time of learning more about what I need to do to improve myself. But, of course, I – like many of you – like to look good, to do well, and to impress others with my performance. Some of us are like this more than others, for sure, but everyone to at least some extent wants to be seen as having done a “good job.”
Here’s the question: when I’ve done my thing, and the group is offering me their thoughts on how I did, do I see it as feedback, or as (constructive) criticism? I think the words I choose here will go a long way to directing how I feel about the comments, both “positive” and “negative,” my colleagues are making on my “performance.”
(Constructive) Criticism May Not be Helpful
Even if I put the word “constructive” at the front end, constructive criticism still carries the connotation of “criticism.” And who wants to be criticized? Certainly not I! In the early days of this process I’m involved in, I would end up with hurt feelings, because even though I told myself that the “criticism” was “constructive,” it still just felt like criticism. And it triggered some old self-esteem issues that still rear their ugly head in my life, from time to time.
When I feel criticized, I become defensive. I may not actively try to defend myself – I may hold my tongue and choose to listen – but the energy I’m putting out there is a defensive one. And I’m kidding myself if I think those who are offering me suggestions can’t discern that.
Being defensive is tiring. I know. I’ve done it for a lot of my life, and it comes with a price, because I’m always looking for ways to show others that, at the very least, I’m competent. Usually it’s about me trying to prove to them I’m right.
A wise person once said to me “Marc, you can be right, or you can be happy, but you can’t be both. Which will you choose?” So, I’ve made a decision around this. Today, I’ll do my best to choose the “happy” option.
Are You Open to Feedback?
So, today, when people offer me suggestions geared towards making me better at what I’m doing, I choose to see it as feedback, and not “criticism.” How about you? How does it land with you when someone offers you suggestions meant to be helpful?
There are complicating factors, of course. We all know those people who like to give unsolicited advice. I’m not referring to them. With them, I often find the need to establish clear boundaries, as in “I need you to not give me your opinion unless I ask you for it, please.” But what about those friends and mentors we look up to, people whom we want to tell us when they see how we can improve.
Are you open to hearing – and carefully considering (without feeling defensive) – what it is they have to share with you?
Who Am I?
My name is Marc Spinoza, and I am an escort/Sacred Intimate in the Greater Toronto Area. I offer Experiential Intimacy Coaching and escort services from my home base in Mississauga. I also do outcalls in the GTA and beyond. The platform I work off is erotic massage, to build connection and intimacy with those I work with.
Perhaps you’ve been struggling lately with negativity in the form of criticism. Maybe you need some help in “reframing” it. I’d invite you to come see me for a relaxing massage, perhaps with some “extra” attention . You can learn more about that here: www.marcspinozamassage.com/services. I’m willing to bet that a massage, plus some conversation with me, might be just the thing for you right now.
If you think you might like to learn more about what I do and how I do it, I invite you to reach out to me at www.marcspinozamassage.com/contact, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternately you can call/text me at 647-703-9515. I’d love to hear from you!