How I'm Becoming Able to Accept Feedback
Enneagram Type 1s really don't like feedback. This is a big deal.
As an Enneagram Type 1, I’ve always struggled with feedback, even gentle feedback.
If someone had feedback —> I did not do a perfect job —> I should feel bad.
It’s not that I thought I was above it all, it’s that feedback felt like criticism, which literally felt like a knife in my stomach.
Mentors would tell me “you just have to learn how to accept criticism/feedback”. As if I could just turn off the knife-slicing feeling. Unfortunately that’s not how it works.
However, I recently had a breakthrough that I want to share in case it helps anyone else:
I realized that I have a tendency to fear that everyone else is correct and I am wrong. And I hate being wrong. So I’m always looking for evidence that I am wrong. This led me to believe that if anyone had anything to say to me, they must be correct and I must listen to them (even if I really didn’t want to).
For example, if somebody gave me feedback on my website, I would argue why they were wrong (and hope that they believed me and let it go) or I would feel bad every time I looked at the website. I might grudgingly change it but I wouldn’t feel good about it.
That’s obviously not a great way to live.
I don’t remember exactly what happened, but one day this summer I had a lightbulb moment:
I know. It sounds super simple and obvious, but this was seriously a breakthrough for me. I realized people might give me feedback that is wrong, and I might actually know better about some things. Sometimes they just don’t have all the context that I do, or sometimes they just want to sound important. (I know how that goes, I do that too lol)
But I can choose to not follow their feedback!
Once I realized that I had a choice, it became 10x easier to hear feedback. And because it was easier to hear, it’s become easier to sort through whether or not I want to make changes based on the feedback. Sometimes their idea is better than mine and I make the change easily. And sometimes it’s not, so I thank them and then ignore the feedback.
The change this has had on my life is drastic! I still have to gird my loins when someone prepares to give me feedback, but I can put my shield down knowing that I have a choice to listen or not.
Lies I believed:
I had a fear that everyone knew something that I didn’t; that everyone was correct but me
I thought I had to listen to anyone who had anything to say to me
Truth I now believe:
Not everyone is right about everything all the time
I have a choice when someone offers me feedback
Feedback is less scary
I can finally benefit from the actually useful feedback
I can not worry about letting go of the possibly useless feedback
Want to make similar breakthroughs in your life? Book a free consultation with me!
In a similar vein, Imposter Syndrome appears the same way - we have a fear that someone/everyone knows more than us, or has a better grasp on something that we never will.
And while it is certainly true that "someone" knows more than us about a topic, and some certainly have a better understanding of it, not "everyone" around us does, and for a lot of those "everyones", they are feeling exactly the same way - insecure about their competency of a given topic and feeling like an imposter who doesn't belong.
So the sooner we accept that not "everyone" has it figured out, and everybody is just trying to get by (and some are good at faking it), we can open up a space for us to accept our current level of competency, while seeing those further along the path as representing a goal for us to reach (if we really want) or at least engage with them like they are a mentor (if possible).