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Feedback: Separating the Useful From the Useless

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

How can you tell when you are giving yourself constructive feedback or just maliciously abusing yourself verbally? Easy.  Constructive feedback may or may not sting when it is served up, but you do recognize the truth in it and it motivates you to make improvements.  Destructive criticism just makes you feel bad and you feel completely uninspired to make any improvements because the comment has no nutritional value—it was made for the sole purpose of making you feel like crap.

Here’s an example that I often come across when working with overweight and out of shape individuals who want to become healthy and fit:  they notice that they have excess body fat (fact), they get winded when they climb a flight of stairs (fact), their clothes are too tight (fact). So far just facts, but then they start dishing out comments like I can’t control what or how much I eat (fiction), I’m lazy and disgusting (fiction), food comforts me (fiction), I can’t lose weight (fiction). They are sliding into useless self trash-talk at this point.  It doesn’t help them and the verbal abuse is only a habit that they’ve practiced over and over and over again, but the great news is that they can create a new habit at any time. And so can you.

The next time you find that you are berating yourself, back way up to the facts and if they are facts that you would like to change, put your time and energy into finding a solution. You have the power to change anything in your life and the quality of feedback you give yourself is key to making the adjustments needed to get what you want. Remember that the point of constructive feedback is to help you see where you can exploit your potential and make the necessary improvements to help you express it.