Thursday, February 21, 2013

School for Living: Cultivating Critical Feedback

Next week in the School for Living we will be considering the third discipline: Cultivating Critical Feedback. None of us likes to be criticized. Many of us are our own harshest critics. Why would we want to encourage criticism?

The goal is not to open ourselves to put-downs, but to open ourselves to a closer understanding of what is real. You will recall that we have defined a perspective as an aspect of our interior awareness that is composed of the focus of our attention, the locus of our identity, and the lens or the map by which we create meaning. It is this lens or framework we are seeking to clean and clarify.

We will be able to act with the greatest power when we are most grounded in what is true…what is real. We cannot fully know all of what is, but we can expand our awareness by seeing from the perspectives of others and utilizing their maps.

Sometimes we reject the frameworks that others use to make meaning. Sometimes we do that even as we know that our own are not leading us to choose in ways that create what we need. We have faulty maps but we are unwilling to abandon them. We are clinging to what we refer to as “cognitive distortions.”

We typically do not abandon our distortions easily. Sometimes we have to get a figurative 2x4 up the side of the head to begin to see what is. These blows that bring us to our senses are in the form of critical feedback from those who know us and care to help us see. It helps them to help us if we are able to invite their help.

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