A friend recently commented on her circle of friends, remarking how grateful she was for them, and how much they had helped her grow. She mentioned that they sometimes have dinners where they give each other real and relevant feedback. This is, perhaps, the greatest gift one human can give another. I wrote about my internship at the Counseling Center in an earlier post, you can find it here
Many times this past year I have been both witness and participant to the power of giving truly good feedback. It's often a great tool in group therapy work when a member has shared something big that they are now uncertain about. It is very scary to open yourself up to a group, no matter how close you all are. Often there is still that voice in our heads that says "if they really knew me, they wouldn't support me".
When someone stands up to that voice and shares anyway, it's imperative that they get feedback around how that landed with the other members. Often the response we get is in direct opposition to what we feared it would be. In fact, most of the time the feedback is so far to the other side of what we expect that it can be hard to even take in.
We're taught not to think too highly of ourselves, to not be conceited, to hide the parts of us that make us feel different from the rest. When we let that go and really hear how we are coming across to others, it can be life-changing.
To do this in a therapeutic environment is important, and one could say that it's even the whole point.
To know the importance of this and to utilize this tool in a relevant and conscious manner with the people we love is not only brave, it's a true gift to our friends, our community and ourselves.