"Do I have broccoli in my teeth?" "Does this shirt make me look fat?" "Does my breath smell?" The feedback we often seek is from people who care about us and they are very cautious in their response to our probative questions. If we are truly honest we are not expecting a negative response or it is something easily remedied. As things get closer to our center of well being we become more and more defensive and easily offended.
We love our friends because they tell us what they know we want to hear. And while encouraging us to continue to excel so often their constructive criticisms are watered down and seasoned with an overdose of reinforcement.
I am reminded of an American Idol episode where a clearly terrible singer was auditioning and Simon Cowell stopped them to ask, "Who told you you could sing?" The quick response was "All my friends and my family have all been so encouraging and supportive..." Simon's reply was cutting and harsh in it's brutal brevity and telling truth. "They lied." And dismissed the would be contestant abruptly.
"That which can be destroyed by truth should be" ~ P.C. Hodgell
The sad truth is, most of our friends and family will lie to us hoping to not shatter our self image. The most honest people in our lives are often our enemies. We get so angry when we hear some of the things they say to other people in their estimation of us. The untruths and outright lies we brush off without a backward glance and a curt reply of "Haters gonna hate."
Sadly there are those who are jealously angered by our successes and the outpouring of love for who we are and what we do. Those people have their own issues and it is immediately clear to most others. We can dismiss most of their nitpicking and fault finding.
What I have come to learn though, is a difficult pill to swallow. Truth hurts and when someone offers up evaluations that are painful there is some indication that we know there is at least some measure of truth contained therein or it wouldn't hurt so badly. Those are the things we mull over and chew on. The challenge is to not allow those things to stop us but change us. Our approach, wording, actions, appearance, grooming, intentions, and motivations, the list goes on and on. These are all things that we have the power and ability to to take stock of in self assessment. And affect change for the better.
"Pretty words are not always true,
It has been accurately said that iron sharpens iron. And finding those with whom we can trust to speak into our lives with difficult direction and course altering advice are hard to find. My thoughts are: Seek those people out who possess the skill to assess and direct without killing the dreams and aspirations. Carefully craft your personal "Board of Directors" and intentionally populate it with those who have proven success and values that matter most to you. It is they who are able to cut through the noise to core issues and help us establish our foundation and footing to withstand the coming storms and successes of life.
Keywords: Aiki Flinthart, Hodgell, The Yu Dragon, development, growth, pain, painful, personal development, personal growth, pretty words, true, truth
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