A standard by which I can live

The last thing I ever intended was to be offensive. 

However, it was recently brought to my attention that sometimes, what I call “brutal honesty” is interpreted as mean-spirited and hurtful. The really alarming part of the situation is that this issue was not pointed out to me at work, or even by a friend… it was pointed out by the love of my life, the last person on earth I would ever wish to hurt. 

So, I started thinking (really thinking and reflecting, and not just putting up my defenses) about what I say and how I say it. I suppose that, largely due to the people I work with and the past relationships I’ve been in, I do tend to not only “say it like it is,” but I also do not mince words to protect others’ feelings. At work, this is a handy tool because people can come to me and I will edit what they’ve written and make it better, without regard for how much they “liked it” the first time around. I will concisely tell them when things are grammatically incorrect or don’t make sense; I find myself often correcting people on their usage of grammar and punctuation, as well as their representation of knowledge. 

However, when applied to a relationship, I can see how this would become a little… aggressive? What’s the word I want here… hurtful? Upsetting? Unsettling? Anyway, it’s become bothersome, and it’s finally been brought to my attention. 

I tell you the absolute unadulterated truth when I say that I truly had no idea. 

My jaw doesn’t often hit the floor out of pure shock, but yesterday it did. And, that gave way to a few other thoughts: am I unlikeable? Hard to deal/put up with? And, the even bigger question: at what point are my family, friends, coworkers and (most importantly) boyfriend going to decide that I’m no worthy of their time because I’ve offended them “one too many” times? 

Fear motivated me, and due to sheer coincidence, I ended up reading SEOmoz’s mission statement (apparently WordPress won’t let me create a hyperlink using html here, so I’m at a loss…) and YOU can read it here: http://www.seomoz.org/about/mission

They have what they call the TAGFEE mission. Here’s what it is: 

TA – Transparent and Authentic – Am I being as open/honest as possible without causing harm? Am I accurately representing my opinions and my values?

G – Generous – Am I being as helpful as I can? Am I giving back to the community?

F – Fun – Are we celebrating our strengths? Are we having fun yet?

E – Empathetic – Am I being respectful of the thoughts and feelings of others? Can I proudly stand behind my work and my statements?

E – Exceptional – Is it uniquely, magically weird? Are we the exception to the rule?

Some may view this as a company’s mission statement. That’s clearly the way in which it was intended. I see it as a way of life. I’ve tried to reflect these same values in my life, but somewhere along the line, I got more caught up with “Fun” and “Exceptional” and less concerned with “Generous” and “Empathetic.” I do try to be as open/honest as possible…but I don’t always avoid causing harm. I suppose that sometimes, I am disrespectful. 

In short, I need to start thinking more before blindly making statements (regardless of how much truth they carry). My intentions are good, but my implementation has gotten sloppy. I know I’m better than this, and I’m going to work to get back to the “not being an asshole” point in my life. Because honestly, the people in my life are worth so much more than that. 

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~ by ladybugblogger on March 6, 2013.

3 Responses to “A standard by which I can live”

  1. I was raised by a mother that ALWAYS called a spade a spade. However, I had to be taught by my N.A. sponsor that honesty without compassion is cruelty. Which means I, too, have to be careful about my delivery of a hard truth. I’m fortunate that I don’t have many friends, and a job that requires manners; it means less opportunity to hurt someone’s feelings.

  2. It’s a fine line to walk between honesty and hurtfulness. Most people don’t want the hard truth, no matter what they say to the contrary. We just can’t handle it. I was raised in a very manipulative environment and so I went the opposite road. More than once my mouth has gotten me into trouble because I’ve not stopped to feel before I let the truth (as I see it) fly.
    Kudos to you, my dear, for allowing yourself to hear their concerns and to promise to address things in a manner so as to stay true to yourself but still look out for those important to you ❤

  3. Thanks ladies!

    I love the “honesty without compassion is cruelty.” I’ve never heard it put quite like that, but that’s exactly what I was trying to say here.

    I was raised moreso in the “manipulative” environment – I don’t think my parents ever said what they meant to each other. They would kind of use their kids as pawns, and outlets for their feelings, and never really address their issues with each other. Clearly I chose the opposite, but I seem to have swung too far in the opposite. Finding a balance proves to be interesting, to say the least. 🙂

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