I recently had a project that I did in connection with an organization of which I am a member. The ultimate goal of the project was for me to transmit to another group a report of decisions made by the organization of which I am a member. When I emailed my report, I “cc’d” my organization’s list serve. In response, there were a few heated postings on the list serve about the subject matter, even though I had sent a “cc” of a final report, not a request for new input. These postings in turn generated a number of emails both sent to me personally and postings on the list serve as a whole. The “secondary” emails were as much about how we were responding and communicating on the list serve, as they were about the subject matter itself.
It was hard for me to soften and to listen without defensiveness the emails that were well-intentioned, but stated strong opinions that could have been interpreted as suggesting the report was wrong or inadequate. As I made an effort to finish my project from a place of service, which in my mind included appropriately addressing the after-the-fact postings and emails, I was deeply grateful for the teaching John Friend had offered last year to the Anusara yoga community on “The Art of Feedback.” It is an inspired teaching and one that applies with equal force to the situation I was in this week.
For me, this is a deeply challenging area based on my personal history, but I work to grow. What are your challenges in receiving and giving feedback? How might shifts in how you receive and offer your opinions enhance your relationships and your goals for living and society?