I’ve had a few experiences the last few months where I’ve witnessed a group of friends listen to one of the women speaking and then all of them saying nothing to underlying, desperate plea for advice, love and support coming from the speaker.
We’re a hyper sensitive society, there’s zero doubt about that. We’ve ostracized ourselves into dangerous groups and categories, each with its own set of entitlements and triggers. We find solace and righteousness in these groups and very rarely do the hard things get said there. Why would it? You’re all of the same mindset, right?
Saying the hard things means you love the person and only want the best for them. It’s not judgments or maliciousness that feed the need to express your concern, it’s love.
In one particular setting, I watched a woman confess to bad behaviours and toxic feelings only to have the group watch on in shock. No one said the hard stuff.
In another circumstance, I saw a friend gossiping terribly about a co-worker and no one stopped the conversation.
Another, I listened as a family member justified her behaviour and poor decision making while I sat there silently. I, too, am guilty of not saying the hard things.
WHY DO WE DO THIS?
Why do we sit by and let our family/friends self-sabotage? Why don’t we end the gossip and steer the conversation elsewhere? Why don’t we say the hard things?
Because we don’t want to stir the pot. We don’t want anyone to be mad at us. We don’t want to cause drama. We don’t want the uncomfortable job of saying what everyone else knows: “hey girl, we’re worried about you because you’re f*cking up royally right now.”
There’s the one side of the coin that says, “let them learn, that’s what Life is about” which is fine but there’s the other side that says, “I’m worried and something needs to be done/said here before someone gets hurt.” So when the coin flips to the worried side, we need to rally the courage and love to approach our loved ones and speak from a place of love. We need to lovingly express our concerns and worries and hope that they really hear us. A response of anger is usually a sign that you’ve hit the right button and that deep down, they know you’re right. Let the anger come knowing that it’s not a direct reflection of you and leave the conversation knowing that you did what you could to help. Give the person space and in a week’s time, check in. Once the other person has calmed down, he/she may have had an opportunity to absorb what you’ve said. Defensiveness is a wall that’s hard to speak through but with love, calmness and clarity, you’re helping your friend by calling out the BS. If the relationship ends because of it, it will suck, absolutely, but it will also show you a side to the person you didn’t know was there and will probably be better off without in the long run.
We all have a moral compass and know the difference between universal rights and wrongs. It’s from a place of love that we can help our loved ones navigate that when their judgments have become clouded and toxic. The hard stuff is hard to say but it’s even harder to watch our friends/family suffer unnecessarily.
Say the hard stuff.
United we rise,