You are awesome. You are smart and wonderful and insightful and dynamic. Maybe. Or maybe you’re nice to people you know, but rude to people who are different from you; maybe you excel at yoga, but struggle with running; maybe you’re brilliant with computers, but deathly afraid of speaking to people. Maybe, you’re just lazy as a three-toed sloth. Maybe your sense of humor is consistently inappropriate. What? You thought you were perfect?
From an early age, most of us are bombarded with positive feedback. Good job, you rolled over. Good job, you smiled. Good job, you pooped. You spoke, you tied your shoes, you ate solid food and only half of it dribbled out of your mouth onto your shirt. You are the smartest, cutest, most amazing baby – the rest of your peers won’t be pooping for years yet…wait, that doesn’t sound right. Positive feedback is awesome and it can go a long way in helping people (and dogs) of any age understand what behavior is expected of them; however, we also learn as children that lying is BAD, so why do we lie to each other and to ourselves? I’m not advocating Yale grads walk around degrading themselves or Olympic athletes be moan how pathetic their skills are – I’m suggesting that we use a little common sense and honesty in giving feedback, because guess what? It works!
I see people on tumblr and at the gym all of the time who either don’t give themselves enough credit for their efforts or give themselves ALL THE CREDIT for little effort. This is how people develop disorders, complexes and empty social circles. If you can’t be honest with yourself or your friends about their eating habits, training plan or personality – be quiet. True assessments of skill, habit and results allow for growth.
Example: A friend of mine is too hard on herself in the gym – regularly. This is not likely to change. As her friend, I can feed her perfectionism or I can offer my honest assessment. My view is NOT going to change her, but it might provide some balance or insight.
Similarly, a few weeks ago, Tara reminded me that I am too easy on myself when it comes to running. I find running difficult so I often give myself credit just for lacing up my shoes. That’s fine, unless I actually want to meet my goal of running a marathon. Her honest feedback reminded me that I had a decision to make: keep slacking or pick it up. And I have to make that decision every time I run and sometimes during the run.
Too many people have a distorted view of who and how they need to be. I may see that you look healthy and fit while you think you need to lose 25 lbs – where you will find that 25 lbs to lose is beyond me, but your view of your body and mine are very different. You may think you’re hilarious, but I find you offensive. If I continue to laugh at your incredibly insensitive racist jokes, you will likely keep making them. You may keep making them even if I mention how un-funny I find them, but it’s my job to go to bed with someone I respect at night (me) and that means being honest with you.
Wow, what a rant. I think what I’m getting at here is that lying to someone about how great they are is just as bad as downplaying their greatness. You rob them of the opportunity to rise to the occasion; and if you’re lying to yourself – stop it. Everyone has potential, but not everyone makes the decision and effort to live up to it.
Tara: That is a thought worth thinking Miss Bree.
For those who have tough skin. For those who can take it. For those who can put their ego, pride, and self-importance aside to hear some constructive criticism and LISTEN.
It’s not easy telling someone the honest-to-God truth but it IS the most beneficial. If someone were telling me how awesome and hot and amazing I was I would want their comments to be genuine. To be real.
On that note, ladies… when you ask your best guy friend, boyfriend, fiance, husband if you look alright in a tiny little black dress that DOESN’T look good (and you already know it… because, come on, you know when you look damn good and when you… well… just don’t) - don’t get pissed when they’re honest! No matter what you look like anyone can dress well and look nice. If you have to squeeze into something, for example, do you really need to ask someone else if it “looks alright?” Don’t you already know the answer to that question?
Just wear the appropriate size: for you. And if you don’t like what that is… then work hard to put yourself in a different size. But don’t make someone else tell you straight up that you look like a beached whale in a spandex suit. That’s just rude. For everyone.
Positive comments are THE BEST and all comments need to be made with tact, care, and consideration. To help. Not hinder. They need to come from the right place and need to be recieved the right way.
So put a smile on your face. Keep yourself on track before anyone else needs to and just be you!
Bree: SO often in life, we set up those closest to us for failure by asking them to choose between being honest and being kind. It’s not fair to them and it doesn’t speak well of us.
And hey, do you think this watch makes my wrist look fat?