I noticed the most fascinating thing the other day.
I had just received constructive feedback on something.
The feedback was delivered in a considerate and direct way, there was no shame or guilt in their offering me this feedback; and additionally, in my own opinion, it was absolutely valid.
That said, I observed my reaction to this feedback, and it was quite interesting. Initially, I felt a bit hurt. Which is really only because I have an unrealistic and constant need to be doing everything exceptionally at all times. And also because I would really prefer if all my shortcomings were to go unnoticed by everyone else so I could sort them out privately, in my own time, and without any form of scrutiny.
Again, a bit unrealistic.
The interesting thing that I noticed beyond my feeling a bit hurt was the initial solution I offered myself as I digested their input: Well, maybe moving forward I just won’t try as much.
If I chose to care less and not try, this would save me from the hurt of any future feedback because I just wouldn’t care. Problem solved. People could love or hate what I’m doing and I wouldn’t care because I emotionally checked out.
Naturally, you can see how I concluded that this was not the most favourable mentality.
It’s easier not to feel things right? So if I set myself up in a position where I don’t need to care, then I don’t have to feel - because feeling things is hard. Hard = bad, and bad sucks.
Tada! All figured out.
But it’s not really, is it? You can see the holes in this strategy, right?
It’s created a lot of heartache for me. Not in the short term of course - because I was clever enough to escape that. But long term it created a dissonance in my relationships, it contributed to my fear of commitment, it also reinforced the limiting belief that trying always leads to failure. I realized at some point that this default setting of mine wasn’t working. Since then, I’ve adjusted.
I wake up with the intention to try my best at whatever I’m doing. Even when my best is the worst. I try my best to eat well, I try my best at work, I try my best to be a great friend, wife, sister, daughter… I even try my best to really be trying my best.
This means that no matter how short I fall of my own or others’ expectations of me, I can find a sense of peace with the idea that even though I may fail, or I’m not the best, ultimately, I’m learning and I am truly doing the best that I can.
This method is teaching me to have tremendous amounts of patience for myself, grace, faith, and forgiveness. It’s challenging - I still have to really work on it, but it feels worth the effort.
So now I have to take a breath, and integrate that feedback I was given with the understanding that even though I tried my best, it’s also okay that I have improvements and changes to make.
And I’m really lucky to have people in my life that care enough to mention them to me so that I have the opportunity to adjust.
Tanya Ryan is a local singer/songwriter with an appetite for life and learning. #LightSideUp is for the candid exploration of everyday life, events, emotions, and stories with the intention of finding the lessons and teachings buried in the normalcy of daily living.