I have almost always cared. There has always been that voice in my head, or that stray fibre of worry coursing through my being, or that lacklustre thought fiddling with my mind– what do people think of me? It’s been so prominent a feature at certain points in my life, that I once conducted a sort of survey amongst acquaintances and friends alike, and boy, what I found out left me in awe! There were mention of things I well knew, and more, things I didn’t know people noticed or read meaning to. Some of the feedback made me laugh, others hurt me to the bone… but that sheer act changed my life for better.
Several people will tell you, it doesn’t matter what people think… there’s even the saying that goes “If you stand firm and do not let the opinions of others influence your perception of yourself, people will start to be influenced by your beliefs (Senora Roy)“– I agree; yet we do not see ourselves fully, except through the reflections we make in people’s eyes. Bill Gates once said “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Hugh Prather went on to say “Negative feedback is better that none. I would rather have a man hate me than overlook me. As long as he hates me, I make a difference.“
My thought? Employ Feedback, with consciousness and caution.
Feedback is modification or control of a process or system by its results or effects… used as a basis for improvement. There, Kaizen, improvement! Often, people will say what they will about you anyway, whether you ask for it or not; but taking that conscious step to knowing their thoughts, makes all the difference. There’ll be honest feedback, and the not-so-honest ones, but when three out of five people give about the same feedback, then it’s worth considering. It does have its fall-side; bearing the possibility of tampering with one’s own principles and standards, just so one can fit in and get favourable comments– but that’s where YOU come in. That’s where YOUR TRUTH comes in.
We are who we are. An embodiment of social learning, family values, culture and heritage, God-given talents, acquired and/or innate standards and principles. We must remember those things we stand for and stand against, when employing feedback as a tool for improvement. Improvement is not a personality overhaul, it is progress in process. Assess yourself, in light of the feedback– open your mind, be honest with yourself– can ‘it’ be better? Should ‘it’ be better? Ultimately, you are your own truth; you decide what changes, not them. Yet, more often than not, the said change would be more beneficial to you, than it would be to anyone else. People can leave you if and when they feel like they’ve had enough; but where do you go when you can’t take it anymore?
© The Short Black Girl, 2016.