16 Oct
Feedback: my composition for work but what about relationships? Honestly, the jury is still out...

I am currently making my way out of a creative decline, slump or what I could even term a burnout. These descriptors all fit and signal the dynamic nature of this experience. I started Down Media Lane in June of this year and have been working as consistently as I could till September. Creating media content alongside digging my heels into the emotions that come with this season. This season of uneventfulness, rejection and uncertainty as a result of being an unemployed job seeker. I articulated my feelings, thoughts and experiences in a 4-part podcast series intended to reflect and process being an unemployed job seeker in this fragile economic climate. It was so impactful to have language to articulate such a tough experience in a way that hopefully others could learn from or relate to. A true and deep catharsis I am grateful to have experienced through my creative output.

One thing kept coming up as I was producing the 4 podcast episodes on a topic as unsexy as unemployment, that one thing was feedback. I appreciated my friends and family who shared thoughtful and kind comments on the YouTube channel, in my DM’s or when we spoke. And it was the first time my perspective about feedback assumed a new awareness of its value. Enabling me to further ponder on the composition of feedback which was how I moved from the abstract comprehension of feedback toward the practical composition of feedback.

Here goes: 

Firstly, I determined that feedback needs to be married with kindness. Kindness for me is the thoughtful consideration of another in a way that embodies care and empathy in one’s actions and words. As a result, I don’t consider it feedback when people share unhinged and unkind arguably hateful statements claiming “I’m just keeping it real” with their feedback, a common phenomenon in virtual spaces like social media platforms. 

Secondly, the communication framed as feedback in its essence should be communication one can use to improve, that is a key marker, can this which I communicate intended as feedback be considered or applied toward improvement? Unkind and unhinged statements especially emboldened by our use of the internet cannot be categorised as feedback because they are typically void of ideas, perspective or suggestions that can serve in the pursuit toward improvement. Typically, unhinged statements do not even identify what works in the creative output.  

Thirdly, I recognised that feedback in the ideal sense requires the presence of secureness. Secureness facilitates or enables the atmosphere for feedback to be shared and received. It allows the generous assumption that those engaged enough to give feedback do so in good faith. That eliminates the fear to even share those thoughts and views that can be considered as feedback. Equally important were secureness is concerned is the recipient being in that state as well. As that helps curb issues like defensiveness or being offended. As a media creator being secure and open to feedback is an area of keen interest. To build and fortify my sense of secureness is so I can benefit as good feedback aids toward improvement. This secureness is multifaceted and includes but not limited to emotions, nuance and the identification of insights from the media content I have put out into the world. Secureness is about being open and curious to receive feedback which is a worthwhile use of my agency. I am pursuing that daily by detaching my value from my work. I want to be a creator who communicates my openness to feedback and want to cultivate a practice of engaging with those good faith actors, generous enough to share feedback with me that aligns with the 3 compositions of feedback outlined here. 

As I have been pondering about feedback as a by-product of my creative output, naturally the curiosity has extended to the practice of giving feedback to one another in our various relationships. Feedback in the context of our relationships is without a doubt an area I am aware is met with a lot dynamism beyond the clear cut margins of work/creative output. I honestly am unsure if the composition of feedback outlined here, I can apply just as easily in the context of relationships. That arena requires more thought because of the weight/fragility of relationships carry in our lives. I will be reading and learning to form a better understanding and hopefully acquiring language regarding feedback in the context of my relationships.

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