Let’s look at an example of receiving constructive, negative or challenging feedback in the world of work. The way you respond to this feedback will be influenced by two things. It will be influenced by the actual feedback you receive. And it will also be influenced by your beliefs and the stories you tell yourself.
If you have negative believes you will probably have negative self-talk. Your inner voice might tell you you’re dreadful at your job and no one likes you. If this is the case, then you’ll probably become quite stressed, unhappy and unable to do your job well.
Alternatively, you might have positive believes, a positive lens through which to view the feedback. Your inner voice might say that the feedback means that you can improve, which is a great thing to do. It might also say that the person who told you the feedback must really want to help you get better. With positive beliefs and self-talk like this, you might embrace the feedback and feel positive.
The activating event in these two examples is exactly the same. It’s only the beliefs through which the event is interpreted are fundamentally different. It is these different beliefs which lead to the two very different responses.