I believe that deep down, most people want to improve; they truly desire to become a better version of themselves. Whether it is physically, mentally, personally or professionally, progress feels good. The journey to progress, however, is not always pleasant, especially when it requires receiving correction from others. Often we see this correction as an overall definition of who we are as a person. And, if the correction is not delivered how we like it, when we like it, and by whom we like, it can most definitely feel like rejection.
I read an article on why people reject correction and it cited three typical reasons:
- We lack respect for the person delivering the correction. Our thoughts immediately go to all of the things we think is wrong with that person.
- The person delivering the message doesn't have all their facts correct. Therefore, we dismiss everything they have to say even if their main point is valid.
- We don't like the way they handled the conversation or their tone. Therefore, we do not have to acknowledge their message.
The truth is, if we are only willing to receive correction from perfect people with perfect words, we need to face up to the fact that our progress will most likely be stalled. We are all too biased to assume our opinion of ourselves is the only correct option. But here's the good news: correction does not have to feel like rejection. It is all about changing our view about the delivery. For what it is worth, these are my answers to not feeling rejected:
- No one is perfect. Everyone has flaws. Be grateful that someone believes in you so much that they are excited to help you grow.
- Unless you are on the witness stand, the details of the facts are irrelevant. If they have an important message, take time to digest the pieces you think are important for your progress. You don't have to believe everything they say, but a few points might not hurt.
- Maybe someone's tone is a little harsh and perhaps they seem a little cold in their delivery. That doesn't make them wrong.
I really believe this is important and quite honestly wish I would have known this decades ago. I spent too much time being offended and defensive with correction. It definitely takes a conscious effort, because I know that if I make it too hard for people to give me correction, they will finally just give up on me, and then where will I be?
Are you open to correction?
What do you need to do to remove the idea of rejection?