I recently posted on the topic of “How Do You Feel” , so here we’ll resume the very challenging theme of communication in our modern times.
I’ve told friends repeatedly that I would rather they challenge me, and risk hurting my feelings if they see a questionable attitude or behavior; rather than remaining quiet while my life starts to stray off course. As a dear friend once put it to me, deviating off course by a degree or two isn’t a big deal unless you’re a pilot flying from NY to LA; in other words the longer you stay off course the worse things are going to be, and the more likely you’ll end up in unknown and undesirable territory….or worse.
Unfortunately, in our day and age we don’t speak up often because we’re afraid of being labeled as self-righteous, a hater, or worse. People would rather be affirmed than challenged no matter what they’re doing, but we have to recognize that poor behavior leads to poor choices and poor choices leads to destruction or even death in relationships and lives.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had friends claim they saw a buddy drift off course but didn’t want to say anything. Oftentimes the buddy ended up with his life in shambles, broken relationships, in prison or worse, so who got spared?
Accountability is an ugly word to many; they’d rather be left alone or have you mind your own business, but that’s not who I choose to hang with. My experience is that those not desiring to hold others accountable are the one’s who don’t want to be held to the same standard; so we’re left minding our own business and relying on our own wisdom until we reach the point of no return. No thank you; I have too much to lose.
Speaking up means you first have to earn the right to be heard, this means developing and nurturing relationships which today seems like something of a lost art. I have to show I care about someone before they’ll hear anything constructive (or negative:), and it works both ways. The men in my life who have held me accountable are one’s I trust, and one’s I’ve established meaningful relationships with; and trust takes time.
This type of communication is not embraced by everyone; but for those who get sick and tired of their choices landing them in trouble, who perhaps have even used up all their victim cards, or who have an honest desire to grow, this may be for you.