For a relationship to be based on truth, there has to be room for truth-telling! Oftentimes we train those closest to us to lie to us without even realizing it. How? By throwing a fit when they say something we don’t like or appreciate! Particularly if it is a comment about the way we did something, or a weakness in our character!
It’s certainly true that the greatest thing that God has saved us from is ourselves and our own propensity to go off the rails in life. We don’t even need the devil to attack us; we just need to be left to ourselves for a while and we will go off the deep end in some way or another!
If you are honest you know it is true, and that is why it is hard to hear another person say it. In fact, the main reason why you react so angrily when someone else attempts to address a weakness in you, is because you are well aware of it, and you already don’t like it about yourself.
There is great strength in inviting those you trust and love to speak into your life. In other words, to allow one or two people the privilege of watching out for you and correcting you.
If you make a mature decision that you will handle that, and submit to it without blowing them out of the water when they dare to open their mouths, you do yourself a huge favor – not only because you create a safety net around yourself, but also because those people can relax with you.
The people who have a good attitude to correction are the ones in harmonious relationships, even though the issues they are working on may be greater, than the people who refuse it.
Here are five pitfalls to avoid when on the receiving end of another person’s adjustments to your behavior.
- Shooting the messenger:This is when you lash back at the person bringing the comments. You know that there is a problem, but you refuse to acknowledge it and instead you act as if the person bringing it up is the problem.
- Rationalization:This is when you give lots of reasons for your behavior that are designed to reduce the sense of responsibility. “I was late because I don’t have an alarm clock and I know these things don’t start on time anyway.” Rationalizing people never accept responsibility or acknowledge where they are. Their excuses make them unteachable.
- Minimize the problem:These people admit the problem but speak of it as less serious than it is. “That wasn’t a big deal.” You minimize a person’s pain to justify a wrong action.
- Denial: You deny the fact that the problem exists. You manipulate words until the other person starts to believe it was their entire fault after all. “It’s my fault that he committed adultery since I wasn’t the right type of woman.” It is impossible to find common ground with the person who denies the existence of a problem.
- Projection:When you point out in another person the thing that is wrong in you, without appearing to see it in yourself. You deflect what you do and project it on others. People who project hate to see bad things about themselves, but are intolerant about wrong things in others.
So what is the best way to respond when someone offers their point for adjustment and you feel stung by it? There is no substitute for controlling your emotions right then and saying, “You know what, you are right about what you said. I apologize.” It brings a release of tension in the relationship and allows for progress to be made. Remember, they are helping you to get better!
Best of all you mature as a human being; you overcome your insecurities and you gain a new sense of self-respect. You discover that it is not such a terrible thing after all to have to admit to your weaknesses.
Not only that, but instead of diminishing in the eyes of the person attempting to bring the adjustment, you actually grow in their estimation, because handling correction is hard, and everyone knows it.
Don’t hang back, make a decision today to become someone who can handle it, and empower the right people to speak honestly and openly to you.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me relationships with people who will tell me the truth. I acknowledge my need for some help in being who you called me to be!
I ask you for help in being teachable and in being ready to handle correction when it comes. I know it won’t be easy, but I know that with you, I can pass the test with flying colors! Thank you, that you love me enough not to leave me in any place of weakness, but you make me strong and you fill my life with the same glory that gave to Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for causing me to shine as a trophy of your love. By your grace, I am going to the top!