By: Sandy Churchill
“I say this with all the love in the world,” a dear friend recently told me, while inspecting my school supply closet, “do not buy another pencil!”
She was critiquing my supply stash where a hoarding mentality sometimes took over—not because I intentionally hoard, but because I often stock up, then temporarily misplace some items in the chaos of packing and re-packing teaching bags to go here, there, and everywhere amid my zany job schedule. So I re-buy the missing items and alas, locate the original ones and end up with a double-supply.
Nonetheless, it was a criticism. I could have felt defensive, or even annoyed. But her preamble of, “all the love in the world,” was so sincere, so kind, that it was impossible to be anything but accepting of this truth, and on top of that, grateful!
How did she do it? Was it really that simple? Should I give this approach a go in my own interactions?
I practiced in my head.
“I say this with all the love in the world, honey. You are not a great navigator. Just ask for directions.”
“I say this with all the love in the world. You can’t leave things to the last minute and expect to be in a great place with your deadline. All that stress will blow up in your face.”
“I say this with all the love in the world. Your political beliefs are too one-sided and you can’t see that this policy makes sense for a responsible government.”
Ha! Maybe not that last one… Surely, any long journey begins with the first step.
In any case, there’s a lot to be said for kind correction, sensitively pointing out information that might be difficult to hear, but necessary to share, because you care.
This might be just the bit of communication pixie dust to allay any potential conflicts with teens, relatives, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Perhaps a new strategy for communication in the coming year? Maybe even a New Year’s resolution!
So a big thank you goes to my sweet friend, whose, “all the love in the world” correction opened my gates of human resistance and defensiveness and let her wisdom sink in. Her kindness melted any residual pride and softened her correction so much that I wasn’t offended in the least. This was surely a bit of magic.