I’m wrong often and when I’m wrong I usually give myself a little negative reinforcement. “Jesus Carl, what the duck!” Something like that. It is a bad habit that probably stems from a deeper sense of self loathing our poor parenting or something that a Neuro scientist may be able to analyze. Given that I won’t actually make it to that doctor’s office, I have to deal the consequences of this reactionary approach to failure.
Where this is bad is how this affects the way I take feedback. I’m constantly responding with an aggressive tone that may or may not involve expletives, even if I agree with it. If somebody is like “Carl, this is wrong” I’m going to respond like “… Of shit, I screwed up..” which doesn’t inspire confidence. Worse, if I’m only 50 percent sure I screwed up, and I take that toner into the conversation with the person giving feedback, they will certainly take it as I’m angry at them, when I’m really angry at the failure, my part in it, and that I’m losing my yet more of my self esteem, or whatever the brain doctor’s would say.
Taking bad news, critical feedback, and my own mistakes in a different way is something that I need to get better about. It is far too easy for people to see my response in those situations and assume that is the real me. What is the me that I want to emerge in those situations?
- Calm and steady? This may come off as ineffectual.
- Happy? Then I look like a blissful idiot at best, or flagrantly unconcerned with the news and the person who’s bringing it.
- Roll up your sleeves? This freaks some people out, especially when they are “just bringing it to your attention.”
There probably isn’t a good solution here, but instead a situation that involves a lot of tact. Certainly the first step is to use more love and care with my inner monologue to remove the aggression from my first response