In life, it seems like positive emotions are fleeting, while negative ones can linger endlessly. In the workplace, constructive feedback can make you feel as though you’re not doing well at your job, but most likely, that’s not the case at all. However, it’s your task as a consummate professional to turn constructive criticism and to an opportunity for improvement.
By taking a proactive approach toward accepting feedback, you can learn to take the good with the bad and prevent negative feedback from causing unnecessary stress.
Don’t Take It Personally
The development of confidence is especially vital for women executives. CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, Marguerita M. Cheng, expresses that women are more likely to worry about the fear of failure compared to their male peers.
Still – whether you’re a man or a woman – unbridled confidence is a falsehood. The only advantage of appearing undaunted by obstacles is that you can project confidence in any situation. However, this involves hiding your emotions, rather than dealing with them. Nevertheless, this kind of faux confidence is often mandatory if you’ve assumed a leadership role.
A better solution, however, is to not give in to self-doubt. You didn’t get where you are professionally by accident. When you believe in yourself, others will too.
Self-confidence is about more than looking the part; it’s about keeping a cool head, thinking things through and not letting emotions influence your decisions. Everyone has weaknesses. Instead of giving in to them, learn to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Understand, however, that it doesn’t happen just because that’s what you want. It takes time, commitment and a series of small steps to get into the right headspace.
Also, give yourself a break. Some people believe that if they establish impossible goals, at least they’ll come close to achieving them, or they’ll accomplish something. However, this practice will set you up for a continuous series of failures. Don’t do it.
Instead, establish realistic, achievable goals for yourself. Also, don’t do anything to yourself that you wouldn’t do to anyone else.
When trying to overcome your weaknesses, think about your strengths. Then, use your strengths to help make your weaknesses opportunities for growth.
Getting a New Attitude
Now that you’ve considered your emotional response to negative feedback, you should also examine your physiological reactions to stressful events. Still, your goal is not to avoid such occurrences. Instead, you must learn to calm yourself after a stress reaction.
People are hardwired to empathize with the feelings of others, especially if they feel threatened. Negative feedback triggers a primitive instinct to react to threats. When your mind perceives a threat, it sets off a series of physiological responses in your sympathetic nervous system that make you feel even worse.
When something unpleasant happens, it activates your sympathetic nervous system. When this occurs, note feelings of tightness or contraction in various parts of your body.
You can proactively decide to be calm. Instead of reacting to everything, think of yourself as a witness in your own life when you’re dealing with something unsettling. Acknowledge that you’ve had an emotional and physiological response to an adverse event. In time, you can make calm your usual demeanor.
A continuous state of calm will give you an intuitive sense of composure and balance. When you’re consistently calm, it’s easier to find your center again if something or someone pushes your buttons.
The Dangers of Self-Doubt
At times, 20 of your peers could pat you on the back, but it only takes one detractor to make you feel miserable. You would think that a sea of praise would overcome one negative comment. When this happens, it’s often difficult to shake negative feelings. Left unchecked, it can result in poor mental health.
Resultantly, it’s essential to overcome self-doubt. If you allow self-doubt to take root, it can cause you to feel inferior and unworthy.
It’s not your fault, however. It’s a human defense mechanism to feel hurt when subject to criticism. It helps to understand what’s happening in your mind and body, as well as why you’re so sensitive to negative comments. It also helps to know why those feelings seem to stay around for so long.
Once you understand that your response to negative feedback is a part of being human, your next step is to focus on managing your stress response so that you can recover as quickly as possible. For instance, you can realign your thoughts with positive mantras and affirmations. Start by learning a few go-to phrases that you can recite to yourself when you feel threatened.
In a recent Thrive article, Nicole Booz – Editor-And-Chief of GenTwenty – offered a few affirmations that can help you refocus on your center of calm. She suggests that you learn to tell yourself, “I am powerful.” You can also tell yourself, “I choose positive thoughts.”
When you face challenges, tell yourself, “I am worth the extra effort.” Finally, whenever you encounter an obstacle in life, tell yourself, “I can do hard things.”
This content is sponsored by Andrew Deen.
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