A friend told me that how the brain responds to the question, “May I give you feedback?” is similar to how the brain responds when you encounter a bear in the woods. And I think part of why we respond with panic or anxiety at the thought of feedback is because we rarely receive open, honest, and direct words from those around us. Instead we do the best we can with the information we have available: the confusing words and behaviors of those around us + our own thoughts and feelings. With our inner critics, saboteurs, and imposter syndromes, it’s no wonder that we fear feedback from those around us—they might confirm the worst things we think about ourselves!
I remember a coworker telling me that I receive feedback well, and I was surprised because I felt like it was hard in the moment to do. I remember a client nailing me with spot-on feedback about something I could have done better that increased my respect for him. And I remember how happy I felt as a coworker and I made requests of one another that would strengthen our relationship.
There are so many ways that we can receive and interpret feedback, and it can impact our relationships positively or negatively. What if we were able to give and receive feedback more frequently to build more trust into our relationships? To make them antifragile?