Sometimes people think that appreciation is about being “nice.” That is not the case. Appreciation, in my opinion, is about coming from a place of love and truth. In fact, giving people brutally honest feedback is one of the best ways we can appreciate them and let them know we love and care about them. This, however, is not always easy.
First of all, to give someone honest feedback you must have a foundation of respect, trust, and appreciation in your relationship with them. It is also important to ask their permission and make sure it is okay before you launch into your feedback.
With these things in place, our willingness to tell the truth to people is essential. Too often we wait until it is too late or we don’t say something because we are scared about how they might react. It is easy to say nothing or to “blow smoke.” However, it takes real courage to speak your truth to another. The key is your intention. If your intention is to make a difference for that person, “clear” something that might be in your way with them, or help them see something they may not be able to see – you are coming from a place that can empower and ultimately support that person. If your intention is to be superior, to show how wrong they are and how right you are, or some version of either of these two things – you are coming from your ego and your “truth” will most likely push you and this other person further apart.
I have recently been confronted with a number of situations like this in my life. In all honesty, I have handled some of them very poorly – either by not speaking up or doing so in a self-righteous and ineffective way. And, there have been a number of situations in which by me having the courage to speak up and say what was on my mind – something wonderful happened. Regardless of how I go about this, in the end it is almost always better for me to speak up than not. I learn more about myself, get closer to the other person, and grow in the process.
When someone speaks a “hard truth” to me, I know that have a tendency to push back and defend myself initially. Once that happens, I usually am able to hear their feedback and learn from it. Most importantly, I always appreciate their willingness to say something and feel loved and appreciated by their courage to do it.
Look at your relationships – especially the most important ones. Where are you not telling the truth, not giving feedback, or worried to say something honest? What would it take for you to be willing to tell them the truth? What are you afraid of? What could be possible in your relationship with them if you spoke up? My challenge to you is to go out and speak those truths this week. Remember that speaking your truth (with love) is a great gift for the people in your life and is one of the best ways you can appreciate them.
With Love and Truth,