WATCH: How Do You Respond to Feedback?

Today I’d like to talk about the Paradox of Self. How we manage our self esteem and self improvement. And it’s one of the twelve paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison.

So, the way of looking at a paradox is considering it as two contradictory or opposing statements that are in fact both true and if you take the Harrison Assessment paradoxes developed by Dr. Dan Harrison, 

You can take them as two contradictory or opposing traits, behavioral traits and tendencies that are in fact both necessary and effective and when they come together create something synergistic. 

So let’s have a look at that. If we have Self Acceptance as the dynamic trait which is all about “I’m okay the way I am, I’m fine I’m happy the way I am.” 

And Self Improvement which is “I need to get better, I need to improve, I need to continuously develop and better myself.” 

We could see them as being potentially in a bit of tension with one another and yet when they come together form something synergistic. 

If we have very high Self Acceptance but low Self Improvement, we can end up being seen as defensive like “I’m okay the way I am I don’t need to get any better.” 

And that can lead people to no longer give you feedback because they say “what’s the point David doesn’t listen to any feedback” 

And if you have very high Self Improvement but low Self Acceptance you’re continuously striving to get better but when you get better you don’t really celebrate it or you don’t really acknowledge and recognize it because you’re feeling it’s never good enough. 

When they both come together you get healthy self-esteem which creates resilience and it creates an ability to be able to take on feedback and go “yeah thanks for the feedback I can see I need to improve there and yet I don’t dwell on it and beat myself up about it.” I just say “great I’m doing good as I am and I can continue to improve.” 

Now there’s another dynamic which paradoxes which is that if I’m self-critical, very self-critical and then I get stressed and someone gives me feedback I’m already beating myself up and then it’s as if someone has just punched me on my own bruises and I’ll flip into being defensive and go like “whoa what’s all that about, why are you criticizing me?” 

And then they’ll see me as defensive and go like “what’s up with David?” 

And likewise if I’m actually high in self-acceptance and quite defensive and I can then flip into being internally self-critical. Either doubting myself or saying to others like “yeah that wasn’t very good never mind.”  



With best regards,

David Klaasen 

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©David Klaasen – 2014