A while back I asked, How do I get my own jerk?
Recently there was a podcast from Freakonomics (transcript here) which talks about feedback is helpful. When seeking to increase someone's commitment, positive feedback can be helpful. But when seeking to improve once committed, negative feedback is better.
I have been on a mission for sometime to get my own jerk, to have someone give me critical evaluations and negative feedback with mixed results. Then it dawned on me: am I seeking negative feedback in order to gain self worth? Am I looking for others to give me some sense of personal assessment?
It is common for us to seek feedback for self worth reasons, but I do not want to depend upon others for my own self worth. So, if you are tired of seeking others for your own self worth, join me to live out this teaching from the desert abbas.
A brother once came to the abbot Macarius and said to him, "Master, speak some word of exhortation to me, that, obeying it, I may be saved." St. Macarius answered him, "Go to the tombs and attack the dead with insults." The brother wondered at the word. Nevertheless he went, as he was bidden, and cast stones at the tombs, railing upon the dead. Then returning, he told what he had done. Macarius asked him, "Did the dead notice what you did?" And he replied, "They did not notice me." "Go, then, again," said Macarius, "and this time praise them." The brother, wondering yet more, went and praised the dead, calling them just men, apostles, saints. Returning, he told what he had done, saying, "I have praised the dead." Macarius asked him, "Did they reply to you?" And he said, "They did not reply to me." Then said Macarius, "You know what insults you have heaped on them and with what praises you have flattered them, and yet they never spoke to you. If you desire salvation, you must be like these dead. You must think nothing of the wrongs men do to you, nor of the praises they offer you. Be like the dead. Thus you may be saved."