Many couples struggle with the giving and receiving of criticism. Often framed in ways that shame, blame, belittle or humiliate, criticism is rarely well-received and usually results in defensiveness and disengagement. A helpful way to get around these pitfalls is to think in terms of constructive, honest and engaged feedback.
In her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, author and psychologist Dr. Brene Brown suggests that constructive and honest feedback is that which is given from a place of engagement, rather than judgment. She uses the metaphor “Sitting on the same side of the table,” something that demands a high degree of vulnerability on the part of both parties. Source: essayonline.biz
In Chapter 6 in Daring Greatly, Brown offers an “Engaged Feedback Checklist.” One should only give feedback, she instructs, after completing this checklist:
I know I’m ready to give feedback when:
- I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you;
- I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us (or sliding it toward you);
- I’m ready to listen, ask questions and accept that I may not fully understand the issue;
- I want to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart your mistakes;
- I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address your challenges;
- I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming you;
- I’m willing to own my part;
- I can genuinely thank you for your efforts rather than criticize you for your failings;
- I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to growth and opportunity;
- I can model the vulnerability and openness that I can expect from you.
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