I’m just saying…

Note: I started this blog entry, shelved it (as I said earlier) and then have decided to revisit and see if I could salvage the idea I started with.  Hope this works.

I very often reference other blog posts of mine here on my blog.  It seems this is a place for me to constantly reference myself as a running narrative…the assumption being that you and I are on the same page.  That you have read the blog archives and are keeping up with the inner dialogue in my head.  It is part of what I like about having the blog.  I can go back and think about how I was feeling at a particular time and how different or the same things are now.  And here is what I know about me today:

I am more willing to say what is on my mind today than I ever was.  And I am more mindful of how I say it than I ever was.  It is the difference in being “real” and being “truthful.”

Truth represents hard facts.  It is unrelenting and to be totally truthful means that none of your personal prejudices color the information.  It is black and white and there are no shades of grey to get into your way.  Truth can hurt.

To be real with someone is to dig to the core of an issue and try to level with them as people, as friends, as confidantes.  To explore feelings as well as truth and appeal to them one on one.  To be real with someone is to be close to them emotionally and to connect while trying to present your thoughts.

Unfortunately, in our society and more importantly on the web, to be “real” has come to mean to be brutally honest in your opinions – to present your side in terms that are blunt, and at times apathetic, to the person who is listening.   People seem to think that being cruel and being real are the same thing.

The flip side of this that people think to be nice you have to avoid saying the very facts that may in fact help someone in the long run.

So what does this all mean?

How do you be real and be nice at the same time?  You have to:

  1. PRAY first and always.
  2. Get to the point as quickly as you can without too much embellishment.  Prolonging a difficult conversation is bad for you and for them.
  3. But make sure you don’t just throw the bad at them…reinforce the good as well.
  4. Be sensitive to non-verbal cues from the person you are talking to.   When they start to shut down, it may be time to cut things short.
  5. One of the therapy tricks is to concentrate on how their actions make you feel instead of harping on what they are doing.   If it involves something that is not directly affecting you (or is it effecting you?), think twice about whether or not it is your place to bring it up.
  6. Another therapy trick is to not use absolutes like “always” and “every time.”
  7. Finally, really think about someone telling you the same thing and pray about your reaction to the news were the roles reversed.
I remember when I was in high school and a beloved teacher confronted me about something that I knew was an issue but felt helpless to change.  She managed to talk to me about an embarrassing issue and not completely alienate me at the same time…at a time in my life when feeling alienating was the normal.

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