Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Forget Feedback

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of feedback. Think where that phrase comes from, compared to how it's used. Feedback from a microphone is an unsettling, unbearable sound. No wonder we flinch.

It recently came up on a team I'm on, that we all need to be open to feedback.

I admit it - I'm not.

There was a moment recently where I realized that I get stressed out and irritated when I feel like my hands are full, but people keep throwing balls at me and expecting me to catch them.  That is, I'm working at capacity and people point out improvements they think we should make, as though I've never thought of them, with no offer of support to see them through. Throwing balls and expecting me to catch them.

I know all the millions of things I could be doing better, or at least, I have an inkling where they are. My issue is more with prioritizing them, and then, not getting distracted by lower priority things I could be doing better, just because they bug this one person. Which is essentially what feedback is. One person's biased experience of one of the things you may or may not currently be working on about yourself, to be better.

At any given time, any of us could name a hundred things we'd change about ourselves to meet our own definition of "a good person" or "the best me I can be." Most people, especially female people, that I know, already know more "bad" things about themselves than any acquaintance or co-worker could identify.

It's not that we don't know what's wrong with us. Trust me, we know that we are not living up, it's been ingrained in us since we came into puberty. It's not even that we don't know what to do about it, though that may be true. It's that there are so many things we already feel inadequate about, that having more pointed out by people who barely know us feels like someone is whipping balls at us when our hands are full of fragile, important work that we're already doing to improve the things we actually are working on, which may or may not be the same as the thing that a person wants to throw at us as "feedback."

If a person is engaged in any kind of self-actualizing, we expect that we are working on ourselves. What I'm working on right now, specifically, may not be the thing that matters to you. It's too bad, but whatever bugs you about me, it's not my priority to fix it, unless it's something I'm already working on. I only have so much bandwidth for self-improvement. I have shit to do.