How does one accept feedback that is personally hurtful?
Welcome to work. We've all had a time in our lives where a boss, colleague or subordinate has decided for whatever reason to criticise.
It comes down to two sides of the coin:
- The colleague may not have handled the interaction well at all, for a variety of reasons including work and personal life issues.
- You may have overreacted to the feedback, or misinterpreted it or taken it badly as a result of however you were feeling at the time.
In light of this, one of the best things to do (and you did) is to leave and then process this. I spent quite a lot of time doing CBT and the technique we'd use here would be to draw a nice table:
Statement: Ninefingers is really annoying at work.
Evidence For | Evidence Against
* Yes, I have a | * However, we do have
tendency to joke | a joke culture in the office.
around | * My joking is mostly infrequent.
* Sometimes, I think| * My jokes are funny, whereas
my colleagues | what Fred says is downright
find me | inappropriate.
This is a contrived, silly example but what we're doing here is to rationalise the statement, decide how much we actually agree with it and then work out if the criticism is actually based on something we want to change, or not. The idea is to be honest, place evidence in each of the columns based on observable facts and come to a conclusion.
One avenue is to seek the opinions of other colleagues; however, I would avoid mentioning that it is in response to criticism. For example, you might have received the criticism in my table and ask a colleague:
Fred, do you think I need to tone down by humour a little?
This will give you a third party perspective, which can be vital, especially if you tend to be very self-critical.