Sunday, September 18, 2011

"You're Better Than That"

We’ve all heard the saying, “A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a really good friend will be sitting beside you.…” While that may be true, I’d like to take it a step further. A truly valuable friend will call you on your shit… and if you’re wise, you heed that call, and choose to learn and grow from it.

It’s not always pleasant getting called on the carpet for your stupid choices. “The wicked take the truth to be hard.” It’s uncomfortable at best. It’s embarrassing, awkward, and often humiliating! But it can also be a humbling and growing experience.

I called a family member on some stuff a while back, “You’re better than this,” on a rather mean-spirited FB thread. I must have offended her. I noticed that I wasn’t seeing posts from her on my wall. I checked, and she’d removed me from her friend list.

So… Should I have said nothing? Should I have allowed her to continue in her downward spiral? Am I still expected to be my “brother’s keeper”…? Maybe I should have said it differently?

Here’s the thing though, when we hear this same sentiment from leaders, we just eat it up-
“We live far beneath our privilege.”
… but when the same message comes from a friend, an equal.. or if the message comes from someone “beneath” us (younger, a subordinate at work, etc), how do we handle it? I know I don’t always handle that with the humility I should. I bristle, “Mind your own business…” or “My life isn’t your stewardship.”

What about you? How do you handle being called out?


  1. Same kind of thing recently happended to me. Perhaps you read of it on my blog?

    I will say, the only people I have deleted have been the ones who are abusive. I can generally take you telling me I'm screwing up (because I tend to notice that before anyone else, anyway), but if you do it in a mean-spirited way, or you come off as superior then you can forget it. I don't need that in my life.

  2. Weeeellll, I don't usually take it very well. Mostly because I spent alot of my early life verbally getting the crap beat out of me. Never right, good enough, smart enough,or fast enough to reply. Too stupid, dumb, ugly, useless, noisy for day sleepers, fearful, emotional, expensive to be worthy of the space I took up. Therefore, now I go to too great of lengths to be perfect, kind, smart & "good enough" in every way to avoid any criticism!! Guess that's why I bawl at the drop of a hat, loose sleep over dumb conversations & generally care way too much what others think. Its a tough spot to live in & makes me crazy sometimes, but at least I recognize it & work on forgiving others in hopes that they'll do the same for me. But there's still the point of self-preservation. Some day we have to grow up & love ourself w/o hurting others. And accept that others may not be on the same path of growing up. You're always great in my book.*****

  3. I found that the prophets usually can say it better or more inspired than I do - as well as solutions to the problem - much better than I can. I've started turning to them for guidance on these issues. Love the post!

  4. Another question might be, "What do you do when a person you love dearly won't listen to you and threatens to cut off ties to you when you try to help them in this manner?"

  5. @ Anonymous- I allow them to make their own choices. Yes, I'm my brother's keeper, but I'm not charged with directing his life. That's his job. I can point out things I see, but ultimately, it's up to him to decide what to do about it.

  6. I can't say I agree with that. To take on the attitude that they can do whatever they want is like giving your blessing to them to do whatever. If you just say, "I may not like it but I can't stop you," it's almost like giving the green light for them to do what it is they wanted to do. Perhaps persistent nagging is exactly what's called for in some cases.

    I don't want to sound rude, but maybe one of the reasons your marriage failed was that you took this attitude.

  7. Anonymous- I'm sorry that you feel this way. Granted, you may be aware of some of what I went through, but you weren't there. I was married for 10 years. In that time, I did address his behaviors I struggled with. I explained, asked, begged, tried-to-teach, threatened, gave ultimatums, even left for a time.

    But eventually (like after 8 or 9 years of struggling with something, being hurt by it, etc), if someone is stubborn enough, there comes a point that there well and truly is NOTHING else you can do about another's behavior.

    I know you have been there- You see a train wreck coming, and you bring it up, ask, beg, plead, etc. But when push comes to shove, the only person who really can direct a person's life is that person. In explaining, asking, begging, trying-to-teach, threatening, giving ultimatums, you can only do so much... and then you have to allow them to do what they will.

  8. Just a note from the Author:
    Thus far, this family member has chosen to continue to ignore me. She has not responded to phone calls, emails, or text messages.. even when the attempt to contact was for the purpose of inviting her to my wedding last May. Yes, it bothers me, but the reality is that her attitude about a lot of things bother me. Her continued stubbornness in this is simply the capstone when it comes to who she's chosen to be.