I was sat at the back of a quaint cafe. In front of me was a piping hot long black, next to me, a good friend. We had been discussing life and its many wonders. The conversation had taken a passionate turn. As we enthusiastically exchanged view points, my friend was polite enough to point out that I regularly interrupt him mid-conversation. I was a little taken aback and briefly scanned over my recollection of the conversation. To my surprise I could vividly recall several occasions where I had jumped in with my opinion.

It’s never easy to hear constructive criticism, especially when its about your mannerisms. However, I’m always grateful for people who have the audacity to point out a flaw in someone else’s character. As long as they do so, in a polite manner. Just as my colleague had done in this situation.

My interpretation of the rude habit I had developed, was that the other person had aroused enough excitement in me that I neglected basic conversational etiquette.Regardless of the reason, it was still an issue I needed to correct. For the sake of myself and the people I interact with.

This story has a valuable lesson; We often do or say things that negatively impact the people in our environment, but fail to realise we are doing so.

I guarantee there are many more things I do that negatively impact the people around me that I have no awareness of, its only human. But more often than not, if we are lucky enough to have someone bring these ‘blind spots’ to our attention, we become offended. In reality, they have done us a great favour. Without the aid of others, we would never discover the aspects of our personality we are blind to.

The best way to improve the way you interact with others, is to listen to their feedback. The perception we have of ourselves is one thing, but it’s not always the perception others have of us. Becoming aware of the way you come across to others is an essential part of developing your social interactions.

If you react negatively to the feedback of others, they will cease to provide it. That’s why it’s crucial that you take criticism from other people on the chin. See it for what it is, rather than a personal assault.

Feedback doesn’t always come in the form of verbal criticism. Sometimes you need to read between the lines. Learn from the responses people have to your presence in the form of body language, facial expressions and actions or words towards you.

Relationships are the pillar to all areas of life. Optimising your ability to create and maintain strong relationships is absolutely essential to your success and more so your happiness.

Next time someone gives you constructive criticism. Take it on the chin – not to heart.

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