What Happens When You Change Your Delivery

Most people have heard the term, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” I know I’ve heard this more than I’ve wanted to and it’s something that I’m continuously working on. I’ll be honest, I’m a judgmental person and highly opinionated. If I don’t like what I’m seeing or hearing, I’m quick to make my faces (my friends know my infamous faces) and pass on my opinion with blunt trauma. Do you remember one of my first articles, “Never Apologize for Being a Work in Progress?” Well, I didn’t lie. Am I proud of the unintentional feelings I’ve hurt? No. But, it matters that I’m refraining from jumping to my first conclusion and saying the first thing that’s coming to mind. I’m remaining open, evaluating the other’s emotions towards the topic and only giving an opinion (if asked) that is still respectful and considerate. This is one of those instances where it’s easier said than done. I’ve had hard tasks to work on, but this is at the top of the list and that’s ok. If you share a similar issue, we’ll get through this together.

I’m not saying that you have to walk on eggshells or lie to your friend when you don’t quite agree with something, but that “tough love” act doesn’t apply to every situation. I used to pride myself on being the friend that was blunt and honest, who pulled no punches and did it out of love. It took me a while to realize that though I did it out of love, most times I was coming across as honestly mean. There are different ways of being honest and it doesn’t have to be condescending or belittling. Sometimes, the truth hurts but adding to that hurt with how you say it can be avoided too. A harmful way of delivery is like giving the other person an ultimatum, “either you take my advice or leave it.” But deep down, you knew that if they didn’t take it, they were making the worst mistake as if your advice is the golden standard and above everyone else. I had to quickly learn this too. Just because they don’t take your advice, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good or that they didn’t appreciate it. It’s ok for them to make their own decisions and follow their own path. Remember my other article “The Liberation of Letting Go”? Well, that’s where that comes in too. Let go of the idea that it’s your way or the highway. It’ll make for better communication and support from your end to do what’s best for them.

Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine if the roles were reversed and you were having the same conversation about yourself. Would you like anyone talking to you as if you were unintelligent or incapable of making your own decisions? It’s a give and take so just be considerate and cut them some slack. We mess up nine times out of ten anyway and I guarantee you that they beat themselves up before they even told you. Not everyone has the same mindset as you, so they certainly won’t always follow in your footsteps. Give them the space and support that they need as opposed to what you qualify as the “right” way. A friend that found it hard to come and talk to you is now more comfortable to share her story all because of your honest yet helpful delivery. And don’t forget, you’re still a work in progress too so be kinder to yourself about it. Your delivery to others is only as good as your delivery to yourself.