“Oooh girl you look so good!”
Why is it so easy to tell people they look good/they’re doing a good job, but damn near impossible to tell someone they’re a hot mess?
We’re so inclined to tell a friend or loved one when she’s on point with her fitness and nutrition, or when she’s gotten a new look (outfit, haircut and such), and yet we clam up when we can tell she’s put on some weight. This can be particularly challenging when we know this friend is into health and wellness, but has some things that she struggles with.
I’ve also had an experience recently with a few folks in the recovery community. A few people I know are struggling. They’ve had some success with recovery and then had some setbacks. They’re talking about the struggle, but not reaching out. When they do vocalize their struggle, they’re getting hugs, but they’re not getting the direct honesty that so many of us needed when we were at our bottom. They aren’t being held accountable for their problem nor are they empowered to come up with their OWN SOLUTIONS.
Many of us in the recovery community are good at handling life’s stresses. We’ve grown accustomed to drama and chaos. However, we struggle when things are going good. Many of us sabotage our lives because we crave the drama. We want the unmanageability. We desire chaos. That’s more familiar than peace and calm.
I can relate to this on SO many levels. Life got better for me and I got complacent with my health and fitness. Like many people who have worked so hard on ourselves and sought a worthy romantic partner, I got “happy fat” and put on weight after I found my love. While she loves me for who I am right here and now, I want better for myself. My journey into health and wellness as well as my recovery is for ONLY me. I do this to be the best version of myself for myself. Also, I want to be the best version of myself because I fell more legitimate as a speaker, coach and author when I routinely live by the very principles I teach, coach and speak on. It’s incredibly important to love ourselves today, but it’s also essential to aspire to be the best versions of ourselves. For me, that means feeling comfortable in my clothes, having loads of energy throughout the day (which also means getting adequate sleep and having a regular workout routine), and having visible, defined musculature.
It is vital to be honest yet kind with the people that we love. At work, a manager wants his team to feel empowered to do their best and also be proficient at their jobs. Direct, diplomatic and constructive feedback gives people an opportunity to contribute more and to feel a sense of purpose. A mother wants her children to feel loved and accepted, and also to have exceptional manners. No one wants bratty little shits running around.
We want our coworker to feel comfortable with herself, but it’s also an act of mercy and kindness when we tell her she’s got spinach in her teeth.
Many years ago, I was walking through the Orlando International Airport. I was rocking out with my headphones on, tuning out the world around me as I approached the baggage claim. I went all the way from the arrival gate to the baggage claim before someone tapped me to let me know I had the toilet seat wrapper cover thing hanging out of the back of my pants. I walked through the ENTIRE AIRPORT! Granted, I had my headphones on so I was definitely isolating myself, but it was a lifesaver when someone saved me further embarrassment by letting me know I had a damn paper toilet cover ON me!!!
There’s a tenet I hold neat and dear based on my own personal experiences:
A good friend is kind
A great friend is honest.
An amazing friend loves us enough to be intolerant to our bullshit.
We’re not doing anyone a favor by being “nice”. Its a true act of love and compassion when we can help someone from continuing down the spiral of destruction when they’re acting out in the same destructive patterns and complaining about where they are. When I was in active addiction, a few friends comments about my drug use. An amazing friend straight-up told me I was out of control. She then said something that changed my life.
“What do you want to do about your problem, and how can I help?”
That’s something we say “in the rooms” (in meetings/in the rooms of recovery).
I love this for so many reasons:
- It calls me/us out on our sabotaging behaviors
- It doesn’t give me advice/tell me what to do/order me around/preach to me
- It empowers me to come up with my OWN solutions
- It tells me that I’m responsible for my wellness, but I have help and support along the way
Awkward conversations, for the most part, have the intention to help us. They give us the tools so that we can help ourselves.
While we’re the ones that got ourselves into our own messes (for real. We own a HUGE part in it), we’re also the ones capable of getting ourselves out.
THAT is empowerment. And we should be surrounded by people who want the best for us, and are willing to give us a hand up when we’re down. Let’s me reminded that there’s a HUGE difference between a hand UP and a hand OUT.
Let’s be honest with OURSELVES and acknowledge ways that we’ve cowered down or kept our mouths shut because we didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Let’s think about why we haven’t spoken up. Is it that we’re afraid of hurting them?
Or are we afraid they’d leave us?
Let’s be amazing friends, fantastic leaders, stellar partners and brave humans by being kind, authentic, and HONEST with people. Let’s exemplify the courage to be real AND empowering.
We can still love people and be forthright with them. As long as it comes from a place of love, we can still be direct AND diplomatic.
Let’s be brave. Let’s be authentic.
Let’s be the BEST version of ourselves, and inspire those around us to do the same.
With love always,