Friday, October 07, 2011


We interact with people on a daily basis. Talking, text messaging, writing, hand motions...they're all used to communicate with those around us.

Communication can be difficult sometimes, and it can be even more difficult and awkward when you're in a negative situation, correction is being doled out, or a 'helpful' friend is trying to tell you something you should do.

As most of you know, my family suffered a major tragedy last year, and we lost my Dad. In fact, in 5 days, it will have been exactly 1 year that we were forced to say goodbye to an amazing man.

Tragedy either brings out the best in people, or the worst in people, and it will never, ever leave you the same once you come through it. There will always be lasting effects from the situation, be it good or bad.

We've had several people 'take it upon themselves' to tell us how to grieve, how to mourn and how we should move on and get over it.

I would caution any of you to tell someone who has suffered a tragedy to 'Get over it' or 'It's been long enough, you need to move on.' No one knows what that person is going through internally, even if they share their heart with you, you'll never know the full extent of the pain.

But that brings me to my point: interaction can be tricky at times.

I read a blog post about "Assuming Good Intent," which talked about interaction, and how people can offend without realizing it.

How many times have we been offered a so called 'helpful' suggestion that is hurtful?

"You would look great if you lost 10 lbs!"
"You really should try "such n such" on your acne. It would clear up just like that!"

Sure, they're trying to help, but mostly their suggestion is pointing out a major flaw that you *hope* they overlook, and sometimes, those things ARE meant to tear you down or hurt you.

How do you discern between someone who means well, and someone who doesn't?

Unfortunately, I don't have the answer for you. The only thing I can tell you, is that I have started to "Assume Good Intent." I'm starting to assume that if someone said something hurtful, or flat out stupid, that they really didn't mean it in the way that it came out. Especially if that person is someone I love, and they love me. The ones that truly love you, will not intentionally and cruelly tear you down or hurt you. We can all benefit from constructive criticism, so that's not what I'm talking about here.

So the next time that you receive a 'helpful' comment, brush it off and assume that they meant well. Even if they didn't, you're none the worse for assuming that their intention was good. You're actually better off, because you don't focus on it, you don't let it bring you down, and you don't get bitter. I encourage you to assume good intent in all of your might do you some good mentally and physically!


Kathy McElhaney said...

This is so good, Bekki. I know I've struggled with "helpful" comments many times.

Heather K Kendrick said...

This is really good advice... :)

Mary Frances said...

Very TRUE and good advice!!! I think the most interesting that that someone told me was, this older lady gave me some really beautiful clothes this one time. ANd she is givn them to me and she is like, you know my friend gave these to me and I looked at the size and I thought WOW, I know i'm big, but I'm NOT that big!!! Soooo I thought of you!!! I was like...WOW...Thank you!!! HAHAHA!!! But they were really pretty and they did look really good on me so I just excepted them greatfully!!! LOL!