Sunday, July 24, 2011

Just Be Quiet!

I'm always amazed (more annoyed though) by people that criticize folks. I'm even more dumbfounded (and irritated) when they directly offer negative feedback (I can't believe he/she just told me I look chubby!). And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that people are often negative about others because they need to make themselves feel like they're in control or more powerful or to cover up insecurities. Doesn't matter. I still always find myself thinking, "I wish you would just be quiet; you're not perfect."

Perhaps my frustration comes from the fact that I've never been one of those that has been eager to share negative feedback about folks. My mother always told me, "If you don't have anything good to say, than just be quiet." (I'm all for constructive criticism -- providing it, when requested, and accepting it).

If someone tells me that my friend looks like she put on weight, I would never go back and tell her. Why not? Chances are, she already knows. Me telling her would only throw salt on the wound.

On the other hand, if someone tells me something positive about a friend like, "Your girlfriend is so pretty," I would relay that information to her. Why? Because most people like to hear affirming words.

I try to live by my mother's words, and wish others would as well. Here's four simple rules I also follow concerning speech (thanks, Matthew Hagee, for the transcript, click here):

1. Is what you're about to say the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

2. What's your motive behind what you're going to say? Are you going to say it in love or for self-gratification?

3. Will it be something that others can use in their life and grow or is it going to just make me look better?

4. What will my audience do with the information? If what they'll do with what you share with them is something destructive to themselves, you're held accountable for their actions.

And because I know I can't change folks, when I run into negative people, I just make sure I am communicating positively by doing the following:

1. Change the subject, with savvy (e.g., speaking of being fat, on Jillian Michael's Biggest Loser, she shared some great tips on how to avoid overeating).

2. Re-frame negative statements into positive ones (e.g., OMG, she is always talking about her kids and what they do on the weekends. Re-frame: She really loves her children; that's awesome.)

3. Remove yourself (e.g., Well let me go; I have a ton of things to do.)

And remember, a happy, self-confident person does not put others down. Happy Communicating!