Do you hate it when your partner gives you feedback that’s, let’s just say, not that flattering? I confess that it’s not easy for me. But, the truth is feedback can be extremely helpful.
This is not about judgments from an overly critical partner that borders on abuse. But feedback in the context of a relationship that is based on goodwill. Even then, not everything your partner says about you is necessarily true, so please don’t automatically take it in. BUT you might want to consider it.
Do your best to make an honest assessment. Is there at least a grain of truth in it? Has anyone else ever said something similar to you? No? Well, maybe you have timid friends and they need a direct question. Go to one or two of them that you trust and ask. If you hear similar things from more than one source, best to pay attention.
Several years ago, my partner said to me… “I don’t see you cry very much.” I bristled, got defensive and shot back: “What? You want to see tears? What’s that about?” Later, putting aside my defensiveness, I realized that he wasn’t really asking me to cry. He just wanted me to be more vulnerable with him. Bottom line?…he wanted to feel that I needed him. In considering his comment, I had to admit that I’d heard the same thing from others. Not about crying, but about this tendency of mine to appear so self-sufficient, not ask for help when I needed it, and in the process wear myself out.
Here are a couple of steps I took, and that you can take, to benefit from valid feedback:
1) Pay attention. Heighten your awareness to whatever the feedback was. Don’t judge yourself about it. Just allow yourself to notice in an objective way. Know that you’re not bad. At one time, you needed whatever it is you’re doing to protect yourself. Then, it was entirely appropriate. Now, it’s holding you back.
2) Do something different. When you notice you’re doing the behavior, try something else. For me, when I found myself acting all independent and not needing anyone, I would stop, then ask for help. Asking for help was a big change for me. It not only helped me, but it made a big improvement in my relationship.
These two steps for using feedback will bring great benefits to you and to your relationship. How about it? Are you ready to take yourself and your relationship to a new level?
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including www.amazon.com