Giving Feedback Graciously

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” (Norman Peale)

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Of course, there is a difference from giving someone criticisms just for the sake of feeling superior, and a difference when you give constructive criticisms in a good manner. There is a fine line between giving advice because you’re arrogant, or because you have genuinely good intentions and want the best for the person.

There was a true story I once heard from a halaqa gathering. Two little boys noticed an older man in the washroom performing his wudu (ablution) wrong. Rather than storming to him and making him feel like an idiot, they approached him and said, “Excuse me, we would like to confirm our way of doing wudu is correct. Can you please watch us?”

Just by watching them both, the old man knew immediately he was doing it wrong. He learned from them without having to be humiliated in the progress.

That is gracious and beautiful advice. It doesn’t always have to be that secretive– but the manner in which one gives feedback makes a huge difference.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

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“Love without criticism brings stagnation, and criticism without love brings destruction.” (John W. Gardner)

May God make all of us positive influences on people’s lives, a reason that they become better & stronger individuals, and not a reason their hearts harden or their behavior becomes bitter. Our goal in giving them feedback should not be for the purpose of making ourselves feel good.

“Our job is to help as many people to free themselves– even from us.” (Imam Afroz Ali)

I’m not sure why I’m writing this blog post– it’s not like I’m a role model in feedback giving– but it was just something on my mind. I am so blessed to know and be working with so many people in university that are so humble and always looking to improve themselves. God’s blessings on their sincere efforts are evident for anyone to see.

Wish you all a blissful day 🙂

–A.S.

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