Open to Feedback... or Swallowing Criticism

Being open to feedback does not mean you swallow the other′s impressions of you as the truth. It means letting the feedback in and letting it have an impact on you. Listening to feedback is different from agreeing with it or taking it on. You weigh it against other things you have seen in yourself and in the person delivering the feedback and against other peoples′ feedback on the same issue. You are the one who decides whether or not to make any changes based on what you have heard. - Susan Campbell, *Getting Real

Ahhh, wisdom.

  1. Open to feedback doesn’t mean we have to accept it as something we need to change (or even that it’s accurate).

  2. Weigh it – Discern – how does this fit with what I’ve noticed about myself when I am regulated and aware of my energy and behaviors?

  3. If you decide to cultivate a change… is it even possible for you? (we sometimes expect perfection, which is silly and unrealistic). Is it a change that makes you feel more like Yourself, how you’d like to walk in freedom and presence in the world?

The third point feels really core for me… and sometimes hard.

I’ve gotten advice from people who really want my Thriving. They see, for example, that something like gliding scale diminishes my perceived value in some people’s eyes.

That’s true. I know some potential clients who I could really help bounce off when they see an hourly charge that starts at “only” $75 (and goes to “only” $180). Some peers of mine in the profession charge $300/session and up.

Do I follow their suggested change? No.

Because it is a conscious choice to allow for more financial flexibility for my engagements. While people who feel that price = worth are turned OFF, people who know in their core that their worth isn’t determined by what they choose (or are able) to pay are tuned IN.

So it isn’t just about swallowing criticism. It is also about discerning what is really right for YOU, even if the advice would be useful for someone… someone ELSE.

What’s some advice or criticism you’ve gotten that might be really useful and wise for someone else, but it doesn’t fit you? I’d love to engage around this together.


I’ve gotten LOTS of feedback throughout my whole life on all sorts of things. The feedback I got when I was young was very critical, perfectionistic and standards that were near what I thought was close to impossible. That caused a rebellion in me.

Now, as an adult, learning that my emotional intelligence isn’t too high, but that I have the ability to learn skills to increase that, I like what you have to say about this. I have seen with you and Cathy how kind you both are, like REALLY KIND. Your voices are kind, too.

That is something I’ve been working on for quite some time now, to be kinder, to be kind. It’s hard to be kind to others when you don’t even know how to be kind to yourself. So it starts with me.

I used to (and still do at times), take feedback as I have to swallow it or else. But a more intelligent way, as you write, is to assess whether that feedback is right and valid for you or not. As well-intentioned as those who really care, they just may be off for you. Maybe there are aspects of the feedback to explore that could be right for you, but not all of it.

We don’t have to be “All or Nothing,” right? Maybe “Glide” in some areas and not in others. Or just testing what resonates. Once again, maybe there are aspects that work and some that don’t, so assess and tweak, explore.


A doorway… Be Kind to We.

When we haven’t been treated with kindness growing up, we get trained into not being kind to ourselves. Just the way it is.

It’s sometimes easier to be kind to a child, even if we were not treated kindly growing up. That is being kind to “them” – but that doesn’t “feel” like it INCLUDES YOU!

Being Kind to We says… this is a We-Space we share. When I am kind to you, I am adding kindness to this world we share. Like bringing flowers to someone who needs an uplift… and enjoying them ourselves on the table when we see them, too.

Include yourself in all the compassion and kindness you’re SHARING. Sharing means we are a part of it. Integral. And yes, the power of kindness over time gifts the We-space with a lot of warm and healing energy.


Indeed it does!

And, the opposite is true too — in a shared Space without much kindness, and with an excess of “feedback” (which may be simply criticism), especially without sufficient alternate input to support our own discernment, it can create a sense of separation, and dis-ease, or even illness. (Such is what happened in my previous marriage, and is a large part of why it ended!)

Especially for kids in that unfortunate scenario, it can be extra hard to discern what feels true for themselves… which often lingers long into adulthood. (All too common!)

I love this way of questioning and discerning — it’s so important!

With that kind of reflection on the abundance of “feedback” I received from my ex, I determined that no, it wasn’t helping me be more Myself, nor supporting me “to walk in freedom and presence in the world” — hence leaving, so I need not constantly be exposed to that anymore!

And, if offering feedback to others (or myself!), I’m reminded of these questions too —

Are these changes I’m suggesting actually aligned with helping the person be more free, present, authentic, and/or a mutually beneficial part of our We-Space?

Or is the “feedback” just a byproduct of my own bad mood or lack of resource, or of our natural yet perfectly acceptable differences?

Always good to ponder on those… (especially as a parent! Yikes…)

Side note, I love the MaMuse song “Power of Kindness”:


…or our natural yet perfectly acceptable differences…

Peaceful sigh. And yes, so important to remember in love relating.


That would be me! I’m so happy that you make this circle an affordable gliding scale fee that which I can commit to in the longer run! I’m finding myself independently and am not wanting to depend on my parents anymore especially when sometimes they make it such that it is always “transactional”. So this gliding scale option has made it able for me to be here! Thank you! And it’s really hard to listen to our energy and direction and clarity when we get “harsh” or “excessive” feedback as @Jem writes…

Wish it was easierr!!


Some feedback I received from someone I trust(ed) who is struggling. “You are not doing your work.” I took it to heart, perhaps too much. I want to make sure I AM doing my work. Once I was grounded and able to discern, I realize that it is not true. I am doing my work. And, if I want to cultivate any change, I do not want to be held to someone else’s standards or perspective on me, or even my own tendency to have perfectionistic standards.



People we care about can help us see our blocks, or the ways that we’re not in integrity.

Rarely is that going to come when they are dis-regulated, in primitive brain, lashing out or blaming. I just don’t think that spiritual nourishment and guidance is found in a shit sandwich.

Like you said, once we’re grounded and can discern:

  • For me, what does it mean to “do my work” ?
  • What does it NOT mean to “do my work” ?

Doing my work doesn’t mean I am perfect at it. Doing my work doesn’t mean someone else won’t be annoyed by me “doing my work” when they might want me to do the work THEY want me to do!

It’s certainly true I’ve gotten pointed criticism I found helpful on reflection. “Have you ever tried NOT complaining?” Thanks Doug! You were so spot on. I value being more balanced and complaining was taking me off balance.

Helpful criticism to me stands up. It makes us feel actually clearer!

Unhelpful criticism tends – in my experience – to reflect the criticizer’s unmet needs. (Yeah, that is almost always true when I criticize, too). If I can stay calm and confident a bit, I can usually also include their unmet need in the equation, and let that be theirs – not mine to swallow (or even necessarily meet).

Thanks for sharing @Dru …I’d like to imagine we’re crafting different inter- and intra-personal dynamics here for all our futures. Emotional Freedom for All!


Man, great point. I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t need to be doing another person’s bidding (or taking care of their unmet needs). My work right now involves tuning in to my own unmet needs and taking small steps with gentle, self compassion.


Very challenging with Type A or perfectionists to do, but I’m working on this as well with myself. I don’t have to be perfect. I can be kind and compassionate towards myself and show myself grace.

I agree with you, Dru.