I wonder if we don't ask for feedback more frequently because we don't want the burden of addressing it, not because we're afraid to hear it. When we receive critical feedback, it is natural to feel pressure; pressure to make abrupt changes and find solutions immediately. Rarely does this work or lead to lasting change. Meaningful growth takes time, patience, and discipline.
One of our maxims at Barrel is "all feedback is information." When you look at feedback through this lens, it seems silly for us not to crave feedback daily if we're serious about our growth.
Whether positive or critical, feedback is information that we do not have access to on our own about our work, way of being, and performance. It helps us better understand ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. We can choose to resist it, but the fact is that the feedback, or the way others perceive us, is not reliant on whether or not we are willing to face it.
I like to think of feedback as fuel for new ideas about how I can be better. Even when it's regarding a positive trait or behavior, how can I do this more? What is it about this that I can bring to other areas of my performance?
When receiving feedback, listen closely and take notes. Maybe you disagree with the feedback and feel you need to speak up. Or, there's missing context, and you need to fill in the gaps. If you do either, the chances are that the feedback giver will shut down, and you will lose access to the precious information that they are offering you. That sounds likes a loss to me.
If we agree that feedback is nothing more than information, the best thing we can do is be curious when we receive it, hungry to understand. As you listen to the feedback, ask questions to gain more context. Try to put yourself in the feedback giver's shoes and understand their perspective fully. You said that you feel like you're unable to make your own decisions; do you feel like I trust you? If not, what about our relationship makes you feel that way?
Equipped with notes, take time to reflect. What are the few things you can do today, tomorrow, this week to show even 1% improvement in the key areas? Remember, meaningful change doesn't happen overnight. Sort through the details, prioritize, and keep on keeping on!