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The Art Of Feedback

The Art Of Feedback

– By Dr Nav Ropra. 

We have all had the feeling at some point in our lives to give feedback.  To tell the other person how to do things better, or act in line with our expectations.  You may have had poor service at a restaurant, been delayed for your flight or had a first date with someone which didn’t go as you imagined.  You may have given feedback to someone in your practice, a nurse, a manager or a doctor and that may not have gone so well.

The Art Of Feedback

If you have ever wanted to give feedback, then look at the reasons why you want to do this.  Invariably its because the other person is doing something which presses your buttons.  Nothing wrong in that you may say.  However, if you are really aware and conscious around your intentions, you will start to discover certain patterns and deeper reasons for your actions.

Let me explain. There is a law in human behaviour called the principle of deflective consciousness.  Broadly speaking, it refers to seeing something in someone else which you don’t see in yourself, and that causes you to either dislike or like them  You want to change them or be more like them.  You start to have feelings of resentment or admiration towards the other person. It’s easier to project those feelings onto the other person and direct that energy towards them.  You are being irresponsible for your own growth here as when you act this way, then its like throwing paper into the wind and hoping it would follow your direction.  No one has any obligation to change because you have asked them to just like you don’t like to change when someone asks you to change.  This is why escaping by blaming the other person for example, is irresponsible.

A responsible approach would be to look at what is it inside you that is causing the irritation.  This is the second law being described here, the law of reflective consciousness.  The other person is simply a mirror bringing that out which is already in you.  When you have reflective consciousness, you are able realise that which you resent or admire and find it within you.  You have that trait or quality and the sooner that you own up to it and see your own version of it, the wiser you become.  You become more integrated and whole as a person when you see that nothing is missing in you and that you have the same qualities as the people around you.  These traits will be demonstrated in your own particular form.  When you realise this, then the resentments or admirations that you feel around people will calm down and you will not be run by them.

You may be asking, what about growth and how is a business or relationship expected to grow when there is no tension.  Well, let the tension of working with other people be there.  You will not be able to stop that because we are all different based upon our own values.  However, when you communicate with reflective consciousness you will be coming from a more centred and loving place.  Your feedback will not have a hidden agenda or be a reason to verbally attack someone else because you are irritated.  You can still give powerful and meaningful feedback, but this time it will be a contribution to the other person’s life rather than a put down. You can only comfortably and authentically do this when you see the other as a reflection of you.

When you give feedback, give it in a way that is a contribution, and then the other person is left with a feeling of Thank You.  Sometimes the feedback may be be so accurate that the other person finds it painful, hurtful or difficult to accept.  Remember that the Master is able to give even this type of feedback in a way that the other can say thank you because they come from a loving space within them.  The recipient feels connected and loved by the person giving the feedback.

When giving feedback, always ask the other person for their permission for you to give them feedback.  Too many people make the simple mistake of wanting to help someone and stick their noses in situations or places that do not concern them.  There needs to be a relatedness and reason as to why you have the authority to give your feedback.  Otherwise you will be acting self righteous and think that it is your right to say what you feel regardless of who wants to hear it or not.  You may find that society does not work that way and you are the one on the receiving end of some powerful feedback about your feedback!  So remember to be compassionate and considerate and care when you give feedback.  Let your love be the base of your feedback and let your care for the other person be the determinate.

The final step in awareness is to hear your own feedback.  Chances are that you are saying to the other person the very thing that you need to hear in your own life.  When your feedback is a contribution to both the other and to yourself equally, then that is The Art Of Feedback.  That is where real change occurs and people can come closer together to work together.

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