Monday, July 6, 2009

A Favorite Word

"Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me;
It is oil upon my head;
Do not let my head refuse it,..." ~ from Psalms 141: 5

I like this word, because it says my attitude towards my friends: Do not spare my feelings, but clearly tell me what I need to know, when you see me in error. I can read between the lines a little bit, but if you do not want me to know at all, for fear that my feelings will be hurt, then I will likely not know (from you), and if I do not learn indirectly, then I will be hurt, because the thing that is really wrong will surface, and I may not even know what hit me.

There are people who do not want to know. There are many reasons: fear of feeling badly, worry that the correction they receive is not accurate, pride, fear of rejection from the person who shared, low self-image, laziness, and more.

I can read this:

Me: "Do I look fat in this dress?" (Assume for the sake of argument that I do- to you and to me.)
You: "I like the color, but I would not wear it."

I cannot read this:

Me: "Do I look fat in this dress?" (Assume for the sake of argument that I do- to you and to me.)
You: "You look beautiful today."

Some people cannot understand either of these statements. I used to be one of them. For that case, say something more clearly than either of these scenarios, if your friend really wants to know.

If a friend realizes that I do not understand, I hope my friend will say it more clearly to me. I really want to know. If I hear what my friend says and think I understand when I do not, and I act on what I think I know, I hope my friend will stop me and correct my misunderstanding in time. I would not be offended if my friend were to say,

"Yes, you look fat- I know you will look OK in that dress another day, but today, it will not be what you desire."

or something else equally fair. My feelings of looking bad are completely overwhelmed by my feelings of delight that I have an honest friend who cares enough to risk offending me, to help me be my best in this situation. I feel this way in general.

Do you?

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