Let’s talk about how receiving feedback is related to states of mind—both your state of mind and the state of mind of the person delivering the feedback.
When You Get Triggered
Receiving feedback tends to quickly reveal what I’m attached to. To the extent that I’m attached to whatever the other person is delivering feedback about, I’m likely to get “triggered” by the feedback. I try to notice my triggered state and deal with it—doing what I can do to support myself in shifting back toward a more centered state.
When I notice I’m getting triggered:
- I may give myself some compassion in the midst of the conversation—noticing my judgmental thoughts and triggered feelings and identifying my unmet needs. I may reveal my triggered feelings and unmet needs to the other person, asking for some extra care and consideration.
- I may also silently focus my attention on what the other person’s needs might be. (Since I share their needs, this immediately puts me “on the same team” as them—even if my perspective may be a bit different—and shifts me toward a more centered state of mind.)
When the Other Person Is Triggered
Now let’s consider the state of mind of the person delivering the feedback. Feedback is much harder for me to receive when the other person is triggered. That’s because my own state of mind tends to resonate with theirs—and the less centered I am, the harder it is for me to respond in a beneficial way. So, another skill in receiving feedback is my ability to support myself in staying centered when the other person is triggered.
I believe it’s important to be able to distinguish between a conversation that’s beneficial and one that’s not. There are two things I try to pay attention to related to this: my state of mind and the other person’s state of mind. If either of us is getting triggered or judgmental, then the question I ask myself is: between us, do we have enough emotional resources (and willingness) to support ourselves (and each other) in shifting toward a more centered state of mind? If not, it might be better to end the conversation, to allow ourselves time to recharge.
When the Other Person Is Judgmental
I make conscious choices about who I’m willing to communicate with and when. Often, I’m not willing to receive feedback from someone in a judgmental state of mind. This is a boundary I set for myself. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but a guideline that I find supportive.
When I find myself receiving feedback from someone in a judgmental state of mind, I ask myself: is it really worth it to stay in this dialog now? If not, I might give the other person some feedback about their feedback—for instance, I might tell the other person that their tone of voice isn’t working for me. If they can’t or won’t change it, I might suggest we take some time to cool off before continuing.