Grace Expressing Itself As Critical Feedback


I love working together in teams. I look to nature for inspiration on how it could be done harmoniously, how each part can play it’s role, adjusting when needed, always staying in peace.

Often an important part of my role involves receiving critical comments on my  work. When I look at this from an expanded point of view I can see this situation as life itself providing me with tips on how to grow. This view evokes an excited, engaged, optimistic response in me. However if I narrow my focus I might be mistaken in thinking that my team mates don’t like me and I might get upset creating a very stressful situation for all concerned.

I have a plan that I implement whenever I am in this type of situation. I’ve learned to use this wonderful feedback situation to draw attention to weak areas in myself and my way of working, and to invite critical comments. In this way I can consciously enter into the process and make the most of it.

With some of the feedback I can shift my inner stance in the moment, often because I had wrestled with the same point long before this session. So the feedback feels like a little nudge, small fine tuning in my approach. I can adopt it very readily.

Some feedback is harder to grasp in the moment, and these are usually when light is shed on a blind spot. I can recognize these cases readily as they cause stress in me. I sometimes start defending my actions, fooling myself into thinking that if I could explain myself properly the others would come to my side. This attitude brings contraction in me and sometimes could cause polarizing of the group as other members join in the attitude of defending.

A much more productive approach is to focus my attention to listen carefully to what is being said, to observe my reactions, even my resistance, to gather as much information as possible in the situation, seeing all information like vital clues to help me to improve.. Then to take some time to gear myself up before examining the situation. I find that when blind spots come to light, I feel some shock and sometimes aversion to accepting that this has been going on inside me. If I’m not careful I can go into  self-reproach which can lead to feelings of depression.

I give myself time to become ready to take a close look at this challenging new information. My readying process involves engaging in nourishing activities that bring me into the strongest possible place inside.  This might be exercising, spending time with nature, listening to music or meditating. At some point I can feel the prompt inside to look  at the feedback I got. I don’t expect myself to fully understand the feedback or to be able to make all the changes needed in a very short time. I see it as a long-term project with many layers that will reveal themselves with time and as I grow in wisdom.

I start slowly by looking for a very small simple step that I could take in the short-term. The successful completion of this step creates some energy for me to take a bigger step and so the road starts to open up for me to really make progress on my path. I start to feel optimistic about dealing with this feedback. There is a growing momentum that helps me to tackle tougher areas.

It is in the very nature of learning that I will have some missteps. I’m expecting them. They will tell me how to refine my process. It doesn’t mean I’m falling behind. I take a wider view and I give myself a lot of encouragement so that I can recognize the lessons that I’m getting. I see myself as a co-creator  in my evolution.

Then there will come a time when I will take a rest from the issue. Life itself seems to conspire with me to allow this break. The issue doesn’t appear in my relationships. I don’t misinterpret this signal to mean that the issue is totally cleared up. I have made some progress and it is a good thing to shift my attention to other areas. It is like taking a vacation in between semesters when we were at school. Because we’re on vacation it doesn’t mean we’ve completed our study, we’re just on a break.

After a time the issue will rise again so that I can continue to the next stage where I can take bigger steps. It’s like starting a new semester, moving on to new levels of learning, new curriculum. There are several stages in the process just like kindergarten, primary school, high school and university. You see I take a wider view of my learning process.

For my plan to work well I move constantly to and fro from a narrow focus to a more expanded view. This plan is very versatile. I use it not only when I receive critical feedback from people, but also when I am challenged, because I view that as my world giving me feedback. It helps me grapple with new ideas, concepts, new ways of thinking. It helps me to manage my emotional reactions. Ultimately it takes me to a more interesting place inside myself,  a place where I can better enjoy life. I see critical feedback as grace from the universe, as a helping hand in my evolution.

I hope you too find the narrowing and the expanding of the focus brings you new approaches in your growth process.



7 Responses to Grace Expressing Itself As Critical Feedback

  1. Chan Madhavi says:

    Thank you Kay for the lovely reminder that there are always new answers to discover!

  2. Victoria Aarti says:

    Madhavi, this is a wonderful process and as you have said, it can be applied to so many different things and areas. I can identify with the tendency to go into self-reproach, which came up yesterday as I considered the things which I am trying to work on and feeling overwhelmed by. Grace came via a friend reminding me that I am in the right place at the right time to do what I need to do. That was very grounding for me and a counter balance to the voice of self-reproach. In seeking to zoom out, I wondered to myself if the things I am still carrying around have come from this life or past ones. I found that also helped to broaden my perspective, to one in which I am grateful and excited to make the most of the opportunities that I have right now to work through various things. I am very quick to forget however that this is not a race or a competition and that there is no deadline being imposed upon me other than my own unrealistic expectations. I see how I hold onto the belief that I can work through things (very quickly) and then cross them off my list! But no, this is a journey and not a destination. I can see more that it is about the process, which I would do much better to approach with excitement and joy, as opposed to an exercise in ticking boxes. Marlene, I too am grateful for the reminder of the need for great patience and kindness.
    With love and thanks

    • Marlene says:

      I, too, hold onto the belief or the desire to work through things quickly and cross them off my list. If only it were that simple! 🙂 I welcome the reminder from you, Aarti, that I am where I need to be at this point in time, that I can make the most of the opportunities I do have, that it is a journey not a destination, and that I will find the journey more interesting and more fun if I feel and excited and grateful for the opportunities that come my way, whether they are easy ones or challenging ones.


    • Chan Madhavi says:

      You know you can still enjoy ticking off the victories :).

  3. Marlene says:

    I liked the view you expressed today in seeing critical feedback as life itself providing us with tips on how to grow; that it is grace from the universe helping us in our evolution. I understand how adopting that view is more likely to evoke a positive response from within, and how willingly accepting critical feedback rather than resisting it could help one to be more conscious in how to move forward in a better way and make some progress in their personal growth.

    I am making note of your approach in order to try it out for myself…to focus in order to listen carefully to the critical feedback, to observe my reactions, to gather as much vital information as possible to help me, to give myself some time and engage in nourishing activities in order to prepare myself for examining the challenging information further and to recognize that it might take time for me to make all the necessary changes as there can be several stages to go through before making the shift. I see how it would be wise to start small steps and anticipate some missteps along the way. Most importantly, I am noting that you said you need to move constantly from a narrow focus to a more expanded view in order for this plan to work well, so that is something for me to test out.

    Lastly, Madhavi, I am left with the impression that you are patient and kind to yourself while going through a challenging process.

    • Chan Madhavi says:

      I hope you will enjoy trying out the plan Marlene and modifying it to suit you.

  4. kay marshall says:

    Hi Madhavi,

    I find your blogs tremendously useful especially the analogy of life as university or college. One never has all the right answers, nor are we expected to and we all are here to learn.


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