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Posts Tagged ‘tell the truth’

Your Mom was Wrong – Speak Up

“If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Most of us grew up hearing these words. Last week I used them with my four-year-old son, and instantly regretted it. He said something hurtful to me and I told him to keep those thoughts to himself.

I want him to keep his thoughts to himself if he doesn’t like a kid at school or doesn’t want to play with someone. Walk away, find another place to play, is often my guidance. But with me? With me I want him to be honest, always, even if it hurts.

Every time we talk with people, we train them how to interact with us. If I tell my son not to tell me the truth, I teach him to protect my emotions and stifle his. I teach him I’m not strong enough to handle the truth and that I’m someone who needs protecting. I teach him that he can’t be honest with me.

Do I want him to be a kind, empathetic person? Yes. Do I want him to measure himself with others, watching what he says and how he says it? Yes. Do I want him to do those things with me? No. I’m the mom. He’s the kid. And that will always be the case, even when he’s 45. I can take whatever he has to say. And if I want to have a real relationship with him, he needs to know that.

Every time we react to what others say, we train them how to interact with us. If you want your coworkers, boss, family and friends to be honest with you, make it easy to tell you the truth. Take in what others say without visibly reacting. Say “thank you” for whatever feedback and input you get, even when you want to say everything but. Take the time to ‘get over’ hard messages and then discuss further, when you’re not angry.

People learn quickly. If we react to suggestions, input, and feedback negatively, people learn that we can’t take challenging data and they stop giving it to us. I don’t want to be the person the people I care about are afraid to talk with because my reaction is just too hard to deal with.

Should you care about everyone’s feedback? No. Should you ask everyone for feedback? No. Should you be open to everyone’s feedback? No. Be open to feedback from the people who matter most to you. Open your heart and your mind. Close your mouth. Even when you want to do everything but. Strengthen your relationships and train people that you can handle the truth.

Note: I know this blog is not what my weekly tip said it would be about. I write the weekly tips before the blog and this blog just went a different direction. Everything I write is inspiration driven. I’ll write about the courage to speak up in a future week. 


Do I Tell Them I Didn’t Like the Gift? Gift Etiquette Advice

gift etiquette
“You shouldn’t have. No really, I mean it.”

It’s the season of gift giving, and you’re bound to get something you don’t like or won’t use. The question is, what to do with gifts you don’t want? What is the proper gift etiquette?

Do you tell your friends and family, and graciously exchange the gift for something else. Or do you suck it up and use it? Or do you hide the gift, bringing it out when the gift giver visits? Or do you re-gift to someone who might enjoy it more, or someone you simply don’t like? It’s good to have so many options.

In my family, my parents ask what I want and then tell me that no, they are not buying me that. Then they buy me whatever they want to. When I don’t like it, they tell me I’m hard to buy for. I’m assuming your family is less crazy.

In your perfect world perhaps your friends and family ask you want you want (ala Santa) and get you what you want. In my perfect world you make agreements when giving gifts that it’s ok (or not ok) to exchange the gift for something else. Either way is ok, but set the expectation in advance so you don’t insult anyone or hurt his feelings.

If you read my blog regularly or read my book, you know I’m all about setting expectations before challenges occur. It’s so much easier to ask for what you want than correct a violated expectation.

Gift Etiquette Advice:

Telling your mom, “Thank you in advance for whatever you buy me for the holiday. You really don’t have to get me anything. But if you do, and I don’t like it, how do you want me to handle it?” is a nice way to prevent hurting your mom’s feelings.

Or having a discussion as a family that sounds something like, “Let’s make a deal. We want everyone to enjoy the gifts they get. If anyone gets something they don’t like, they have permission to tell the person and ask to exchange it. No hurt feelings.”

You know your family better than anyone. If admitting you don’t like a gift will be insulting or land you on the receive-no-gift for life list, hold your tongue and re-gift, or wear the reindeer sweater. Pick your battles. And if you can return gifts on the sly, without having to tell anyone, all the better.

Either way, enjoy your time with family and friends. Eat too much food. Watch bad tv. And have a wonderful holiday!  I’ll look forward to seeing you in 2013.


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