Thanksgiving is widely regarded as a kick off to the holiday season which, along with all the joy, can also summon some pretty tough emotions. And where there is emotion and family there is… conflict and judgment. This time of year I get this question a lot: How do I get my family to stop judging my (career, family, food, etc…) choices? Fortunately the answer is simple: You don’t.
You can’t change other people’s behaviors, thoughts, and assessments. You can only change YOUR experience of it.
No, this doesn’t mean that you have to agree them. It doesn’t men you have to take it. But changing your experience means changing you, as an observer, and when you do that you change the assessment. Because that’s what a judgment is – it’s someone else’s assessment of you.
Often, when we are the subject of a negative judgment, our experience is to feel annoyed or angry, for our confidence to be shaken, or to become defensive. We have taken someone else’s judgment and made it an attack on us. Alternatively, we can remind ourselves that what we received was an assessment. It’s not the truth, it isn’t even a lie – it is simply someone else’s experience and that says more about the person MAKING the judgment than the subject of it. This assessment is feedback. All feedback is offered as an opportunity to growth, but the nature of that growth is up to you. Maybe you decide you agree with the feedback and you change to accommodate it. Maybe you decide you don’t agree with the feedback and you fortify your own position. Growth happens either way and you get to control it. Isn’t that lovely?
This is why I tell people, feedback is a gift. But keep your receipt, I maybe making a return….
Try this… when you receive feedback, take a moment to PAUSE and recite the assessment mantra to yourself:
I hear you have some feedback for me. I may or may not have invited this feedback. It is simply an assessment, reflecting your experience. Your assessment may be grounded or ungrounded. I may be willing to discuss it with yo u at a future time. Thank you for your feedback. Feedback is a gift. (Please hold on to your receipt).
As you recite the assessment mantra, try to return to the emotion you were experiencing BEFORE the judgment was given. If it was calm, enthusiasm, joy, confidence… try to recall and reclaim it before responding, with gratitude, “Thank you for your feedback.”