In a heated after school discussion, my 5 year old Maggie was upset with me for saying “no” to a request and she told me I was a “bad” mother. My heart sunk as my thoughts were: How could she say something like that? Then, I paused before speaking. In that pause, I realized that it was possible to not personalize this comment because of my own belief in my strength as a parent. I share this with her and her eyes widened.
This lesson has proven useful for Maggie in managing comments from her sister Alice. In the playground of writing and reviewer comments in the academic world, I realized that a similar paradigm could also be applied. When you are grounded in the strength of understanding your key messages when sharing your work and trusting your positive inner voice to guide you, critique becomes easier to receive and you are less likely to personalize it.
Part of the work that I do together with my clients is to learn how to de-personalize feedback. This work often requires support as most of a researcher’s work involves many hours of work and dedication. It makes sense that researchers are attached to their ideas, results and writing projects because they have committed valuable energy and resources to them and therefore personalize feedback that they receive.
Ways to support yourself when receiving critique around your writing can begin with the following:
- Pause and take time to understand whether you are personalizing it or not, before responding.
- Find grounding in being very clear for yourself about what you want with respect to your writing and your message.
- Be open to the possibility that the critique are suggestions that will support you to consider what to change and what not to change, based on a strong sense of #2 and trusting your positive inner voice to guide you.
The strength comes from knowing that you are BOTH grounded in what you believe is your message for your writing AND being open to the possibility that others have valuable feedback. And from there that you have the ability to discern what, how and when to receive it and make changes as a result of it by trusting your own inner voice and guidance.
If you dread receiving feedback so much that it’s hard to even get started writing, I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary one-on-one Discovery Call where we will connect around what’s happening for you and whether the work I do for you is a good fit or not.