A few weeks ago I received honest feedback that really touched me deeply. I experienced a bit of a breakdown after that. I realised that the feedback hurts because it was the truth. I did not have everything ‘together’ as I thought. It reminded me of Tara Mohr’s words that ‘criticism that hurts often mirrors a negative belief we hold about ourselves’. She continues and invites one to use the painful experience of receiving that kind of feedback as opportunities to look at and change the beliefs. This made me think of a Kintsugi image I saw.
Kintsugi is the Japanese craft of repairing a beautifully broken porcelain bowl with gold. The mended piece is not the same as it was. It is believed to be more valuable, more beautiful and stronger because it has been transformed through the breaking up and the suffering.
Life is not about holding it altogether in a ‘perfect’ shape. It is not about the recognition you receive. It is not about the ‘when I achieve …I will be valuable or loveable’. Positive feedback is great but it does not validate your existence. The same is true for criticism. The fact that you are born and living in a human body is enough reason to love and be loved.
Reflecting back on my years in High school I see how my identity was shaped by the recognition I received when I achieved great things. It made me feel worthy and loved. The way I reacted to the feedback I received recently made me aware that I still have deep-held beliefs that I want to work through.
Life is about the breaking up and opening up to love. It is about the letting go of the ‘perfection’ and embracing the ‘imperfection’ of being human. It is about seeing that the wrinkles on our face, the scars on our back, the wounds in our heart are the golden seams. It is not about trying to fix things or yourself to the way it was before. It is about inhabiting the brokenness and allowing it to transform you.
Christene Caldwell writes that ‘real feedback allows us to self-regulate…and helps us to expand and bloom’. I want to invite you to take the constructive and relevant feedback and use it to grow. Allow it to serve as golden lacquer to mend you into more of your authentic self.
Learning: Real feedback allows me to break up and open to love and growth.
Healing question: How can I allow real feedback to transform me?