You know that session you led at that conference recently with the 99% positive reviews? Which review do you remember the most? The 99 that were awesome or the one that was a bit mean?
I was having this conversation recently with a colleague of mine, and we were discussing this phenomenon of being so fixated on the negative “shot” at you, while there are a plethora of positive words coming your way. I suffer from this as well. I seem like I feel weird about compliments, but I sure can take an insult to heart.
Feedback is great and helps us grow, but that is not what I am referring to. I am talking about the comment that is neither helpful or positive.
I have been thinking about this lots in connection with students that want to start things like YouTube channels. As I was talking to a parent about this, wanting to be honest, I told them that if their child were terrible at it, they would receive negative comments, but if they were good at it, they would also receive negative comments. They would just come from different places. Some out of feedback, some out of nastiness, and some out of straight-up jealousy. I have asked educators to challenge me on this statement, and not one has; no matter how good you are at your job, someone dislikes you.
Cripes…as I am writing this, it feels so depressing. Let’s turn this around.
So what to do?
Ask for feedback from people that you trust to not just “fill your bucket” but to challenge you to grow. We do not grow from receiving accolades only, but surrounding yourself with people that will challenge you while supporting, is a great way to grow.
When you get a compliment, take it in. Stop and appreciate the growth you have already made.
Finally (easy to say, harder to do), when you get a negative comment that provides no feedback but is just a shot, stop, evaluate your work, think about the positives, redirect.
There are two reasons why finding positive ways to deal with this are essential.
It is good for you to find the positives when negatives are seemingly abundant in your head (they aren’t as bad as you make them out to be though!).
It helps you help students who will deal with the same.
All I know is that I have tremendous respect for people who are creators, makers, and doers, who put themselves out there, open to criticism, and still move forward. Dealing with self-doubt is already hard enough, but they proceed to receive outside (harsh) criticism as well. No matter who you are, if you have created something, you know exactly what I am referring to.
Keep making. Keep producing. Keep learning and growing. Just remember that your work is making a difference.
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