Share what helps you receive feedback well.
For me, it’s helpful when the critique is presented in a broader context of my calling/gifts, with an acknowledgement of my good intentions, and/or couched in encouragement. I’m also learning from this how to provide good feedback in my leadership of others. As a leader of women, I also see how hesitant I am to critique women I lead, how much I’m tempted to avoid critique entirely, and how important it is to frame critique in a healthy way.
Don’t be afraid to share how you need to be encouraged.
When folks around us are free with critique but much more reserved in articulating the ways they think well of us, it can create an environment where it’s hard to hear any critique. Scripture commands us to encourage one another, not because we need to be reminded our hair is nice, but because we need to know that our efforts aren’t in vain. We need to know that even though we often feel empty or exhausted, we should keep following the call. Of course, we shouldn’t ask people to tell us things that aren’t true, but since this work is so hard, we can begin to create a culture where we all feel the urgent need to share every time we see something good in one another. Encouragement (when it avoids flattery) is spiritual warfare.
Give yourself grace.
It’s great to be willing to grow and learn. At the same time, no matter how much you grow, you will never be perfect. No matter how hard you work, on your dying day, you’ll still have flaws. If we buy into the lie that women have to be perfect to be embraced as leaders, we’re living according to a twisted reality. If we feel we have to be perfect leaders in order to be used by God, we’ll be working according to lies and forgetting every Scriptural story about God’s power being shown through the brokenness of human beings.
Find wise counsel.
Find wise and honest friends who can both help you set aside what is unhealthy and challenge you towards growth. Remember: as wise as they may be, they don’t know us as God does. Even the wisest friend may either be too harsh or too gentle, so there’s no replacement for bringing it before God.