Thursday, December 1, 2011

Can Negative Feedback lead to a Positive Outcome ?

Yesterday I received an e-mail at work from a friend I have not spoken to in way too long.  I was excited to receive the e-mail, but I wish it had been under better circumstances.

You see, my friend had read a blog post I had written several months ago and was sending me an e-mail outlining his reaction to it.  He correctly identified that the introduction to the post was about him ... and his feelings were hurt by what I had written.

I felt terrible.

I had no intention of hurting him, or anyone for that matter, with what I composed and posted to my blog and Facebook wall.  I had no idea how I could have been so insensitive and I spent hours reading, reviewing, thinking, and pondering on what he and I had individually written.  Although my words were true and not directed at him in any way, there is no way to say they couldn't have been meant to chastise and judge my friend.

I plan to send him an e-mail response, wherein I will apologize for the way the words I wrote allowed him to feel.  And much like that very post he questioned, this is where THIS blog post takes a turn for the positive ... despite the very negative and arguably attacking language of his e-mail (which I do not intend to judge him on at all!) I was so glad to have received his e-mail.  I was so glad for the "feedback" he gave me and how his words helped me to see that post from a totally different perspective.

And so I have been thinking about "feedback" and how it can ALWAYS lead to something positive IF the recipient is willing to humble themselves and see the message from the sender's point of view.  I know I do not always do this, but this time I was blessed with an open heart and mind ... and I was able to see and feel at least a glimpse of the pain my own words likely caused this dear friend.

As I have continued to think on what he wrote, I have decided to make some serious commitments to change a few behaviors I have that are not very positive.  They are nothing of importance to anyone else really, but are of great significance to me.  And I have this once distant friend to thank for it!  If not for his willingness to just SAY something I might never have had the opportunity to begin to learn such a valuable life lesson.  I am just hopeful he is willing to forgive me and perhaps we can renew and strengthen our friendship.


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