We tend to not like criticism but what if we are not aware of doing something “wrong”? Let me tell you 2 examples from a real life when honest feedback penetrates.
Honest friend and feedback on shouting
My friend told me that she is shouting too much. „What do you mean? Shouting at your children?” I asked. „We all do that sometimes, aren’t we?“
“Yes, on my children too” she replied and continued. She was talking to her friend on the phone the other day and who she visited a few days ago. They are very good friends from childhood although they do not see each other very often they are very close and keep in touch.
While they met last time, her friend noticed something „unusual“. We only notice that kind of things because they are not usual to us. She dared to speak up her truth. My friend was shocked at first.
She did not want to shout at her children. More importantly, she was not aware she does it so often. She started to pay more attention to her voice since then and after telling me this humbling truth she ashamed admitted: „She was right. I catch myself shouting even when it is not necessary. Sometimes it is so loud that I can hear my own echo.“
1st step is awareness
We laughed at her comment. I acknowledged her for accepting this honest feedback. Not everyone is able to handle the unpleasant truth. Especially when it comes to our own family. We know the best what’s happening inside.
I am so proud of my friend the way she is growing. That she is willing to work on herself. Nobody is perfect and we all „shout“ at our children sometimes. Sometimes we think this is the only way because we don’t know what we don’t know.
The first step is awareness – a recognition that there is another and different way. For her, it was a complete eye-opener. She had no idea she was shouting because that is what her parents, uncles, and people around her were doing when she did not listen.
She simply copied what she knew. She did not know she did not know. She was so grateful for her friend to be so brave and tell her the truth. She was wise enough to acknowledge it as an opportunity to improve and grow.
Then I told her a story about biting nails which I experienced a few months ago. It all happened at the business seminar I went to. Full of smart, intelligent and open-minded people.
I was sitting next to the young charming guy/very young man who shortly got on my nerves because he was biting his nails all the time. I decided to not pay attention to him and was more concentrating on the speaker.
We had a little exercise to do in a small group – me, a young man with no nails and another gentleman who was sitting right next to the biting guy. As usual, in the beginning, we introduced each other, so I, the lady took the action as first and shook my hand with both men. When it came to introducing to men the gentleman surprised me.
He refused to shake his hand and made it very clear with his words and tone of his voice: „You are disgusting… all the time you are biting your nails, putting into your mouth and now you want me to touch your hand?“
I was shocked! The young man was shocked and we were all speechless.
Fortunately, the exercise ended soon after our shocking experience and we got back to our seats. Honestly? I was in shock for a while and could not concentrate on anything else.
On one hand, he was right. It was disgusting but come on?! There is always a way to tell it nicely?
Then another break came. Let’s do another exercise. Of course, the story of biting nails continued. The young no nail guy turned to the gentleman and sincerely apologized for annoying him. He was not aware of being so annoying and disgusting with his habit around other people. Nobody told him that before. The gentleman understood and accepted his apology and started to apologize for being so honest with him.
I was in shock again. Wau, that shock of being brutally honest really helped.
The show continued on the last break. When I was finally able to tell something as a witness. I thanked both of them for the best learning lesson I have ever experienced. The ability to speak up the truth and willingness to learn helped to interrupt his annoying habit of biting nails.
I became a friend with a young nail guy and honestly? I have not seen him bite his nails since then.
It is not what happens to you but what you do about it. Honest feedback penetrates.
Please, do not forget to leave your honest comment below :-).