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Guide to Receiving Constructive Feedback If You’re a Very Sensitive Person

by Ciana Carrie. |

As a considerably sensitive person myself, I loathe being on the receiving end of constructive feedback. It makes me feel that I’ve done something wrong or undesirable, with my brain interpreting it as pure criticism. While people full of confidence are able to accept constructive feedback and improve themselves, it is arduous for sensitive people to do so. There’s no way of knowing whether the person is targeting us for simply being who we are or just wants to see us improve our grades or at work.

Hopefully the following guide would help you as much as it did for me:

Disassociate yourself from the feedback

You don’t have to react to what was said to you as the comments were probably never about you personally. The person might have seen the potential in you and wants you to become the best at who you are. What I recommend is to balance the feedback with compliments that you’ve received from him or her in the past. It’s helpful in the sense that you’re able to distinguish whether or not h or she has any malicious intent to hurt you. Based on my personal experience, I’ll disassociate myself from the feedback, the person who said it, and the environment itself. I’ll try to look at it from the viewpoint of a third party. Doing so prevents me from breaking down in tears and it won’t further cloud my judgment. If I don’t, I’d be angered and overwhelmed by the weight of the feedback and I’ll isolate myself from everyone.

Keep an open heart

Now that I’m older, I’ve learnt that coping with feedback is most effective when you approach it neutrally. If there are any emotions attached, it’ll make it harder for you to come to terms with the critiques. I understand that it’s tough when your sensitive side feels like you’re being attacked, but focusing more on what was said by the person rather than how you felt facilitates the comprehension as to why he or she gave those comments. It also helps you to think twice before fighting back or adopting a defensive stance. I’ve experienced something similar when constructive feedback was given to me in a company meeting with all of my colleagues present. I was taken aback by the directness of his tone and instantly became distressed even though I suppressed my emotions. I forced myself to concentrate more on his words, realizing that he was looking out for me and his words were for my own good. As the hours passed and my emotions stabilized, I was able to grasp the message that he tried to get across. What I’m trying to say is that when you keep an open heart, it allows your body to absorb the impact at its own pace, and you will be able to better understand where the critique is coming from, thus reaping the benefits of constructive criticism.

Talk to someone

This is something that I always do whenever I receive constructive feedback. Personally speaking, talking to a trusted friend about your feelings helps a lot. It sometimes assists in convincing yourself that the person did not make such a comment to hurt you, especially after factoring his or her remarks from all angles. A trusted friend would also be able to advise you on where and how you can incorporate the feedback while comforting you. Wha’s pertinent is that you should try not to criticize yourself under any circumstances as you tend to doubt your own abilities when you do so. This could lead to your mind bringing up other criticisms that you received in the past, including those that are unrelated to the current one. There would be a part of you that would harbor the notion that everyone is out to get you when they are not. On top of that, you should also try asking yourself why you felt targeted by the person and convince yourself otherwise. The feedback is only to improve you and never to constrain you, if you keep an open heart to talk about it and think through it, you’ll slowly learn how to better yourself based on the feedback you've received thus far. I hope that this helps you whenever you feel lost or heavy after receiving constructive feedback, especially if you are a highly sensitive person. Mistakes are just lessons in disguise so whenever someone takes the time to correct you, be thankful for a chance to learn!

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