Feedback is such a precious tool. Feedback was the thing that really made me wake up from my non-feeling world.
The first time I received feedback about myself that really shook me up was when I came here for the first time. Back then I used to smile a lot. I was a very good girl, and that was my trademark. I started to get feedback about my smile; that it wasn’t real; that I was just putting it on all the time.
The first thing that happened when I got this feedback was that my ego was hit. I felt not seen and misunderstood, because being perceived as nice meant everything to me. It was what had gotten me so far in life. I was so identified with it that I could not risk having it taken away from me.
The second thing that happened was that this nice girl very quickly evaporated. I felt so angry about what I was being told, there was this big “no” coming up from deep inside. But I still wasn’t really able to express it at that point, so it came out more as a passive-aggressiveness.
When I got given this feedback, I had to learn to open up and to breathe. And I had to hear it again and again.This is where the learning starts to happen. I call it the crack in the shell. It means looking at who you are when something touches the void inside, that which is beyond your image, your mask, your defence or your ego. Have the courage not to immediately want to fix that crack, with protection from the inside. How does it feel if you don’t jump and fix it? What happens if you breathe and let it touch you, acknowledging that the person giving you the feedback is not there to harm you? They are not telling you that you are bad or that you should not exist. On the contrary, they are there to support you to come out of your prison, out of your limited reality.
It was in these moments during feedback sessions that I got in touch with my memories of growing up, of the aggression and intensity that ruled my family.I was a very lively child and would often laugh out loud. I was passionate and when I did something, I did it with intensity. So when I laughed, I really laughed. And then my father would whack me, because he didn’t like it.
I remember feeling all this tension around my father and asking myself: “Why? What is wrong with me?” The only way I could cope with it was to try to not make him angry, to be a good girl and just smile. I focused on just getting through and surviving this violence, but there was nowhere I felt safe.
So here at Humaniversity, I started to tap into and unfold all these memories. I hadn’t expected them to come up, actually. I thought I had come to work on myself and do something different with my life. I didn’t want to deal with anger, because for me anger meant hurting, and being like my father. I experienced anger as violent and destructive, and because of this judgement I couldn’t acknowledge the anger inside of me.
Despite this, by facing all of it, I eventually learned that anger brings me into my power and into my centre. I could own my energy. I had to learn that a part of me is like my dad, because when I actually took that fake smile away, there was such a deep rage behind it.
Feedback is essential for us to grow. We receive important information we are not able to see by ourselves. How our behaviour determines what we create in our life, in our relationships, in our families and in the world. We need to start by welcoming ourselves exactly where we are at. It’s worthwhile to open up your heart, be present and keep breathing, because our heart wants to come out. Our heart wants to be seen and to heal.