I remember a number of years ago hearing someone, I don’t remember who, say the following:
“You’ll often find people will criticise those personality traits they dislike in another as they are the personality traits they dislike in themselves.”
And likewise those traits they admire in someone else are the ones they admire in themselves, all things in balance.
I was also reminded that all criticism is destructive. There are ways of giving feedback that criticises and leaves the recipient built up rather than put down, it's called the feedback sandwich, a future post will explain.
It wasn't until recently, well the last few years or so that this has really hit home what these meant when I experienced first hand a level of destructive behaviour I'd not experienced before.
You see I had this friend, who appeared judgemental about others, criticising others, regularly saying they were this or they were that and on it went, even people when they didn't really know the person were being criticised. They were very good at mind reading too, she said this because…….., he did this because they knew it would have this affect one me, I don’t like them because……….. I’ll cover these last few in another post.
And then it turned to me too. Pompous, idiot, unmotivated, lazy, uninspired, pedantic etc. etc. is it any wonder someone lives up to your expectations of them when they face an onslaught of criticism?
Yes I freely admit I can be pompous and pedantic, especially when the words I've used are changed to other words that change the meaning of something I've said, I’m sensing another post is on it’s way.
It was at this point that the phrase came back to me and it really hit home.
You see I understand the English language, and linguistics, however, to look for the meaning behind or in someone’s words is something that took me a very long time to grasp outside of my coaching and NLP work. Too long to save relationships and some friendships, and this has left me in a very reflective mode, a bit down and looking inwards to find out where I went wrong. So I delved into my shelf development file, that’s the shelf of self development books gathering dust rather than being read and absorbed and learnt from.
On reading some of those books again it dawned on me; this person wasn't only saying those words about me, albeit I was was very unmotivated and uninspired by what was happening for me at the time.
They were actually saying it about themselves and they didn't know it. How do you get through to someone who is closed off and blocks another's point of view as there is only their own?
I had lost my way and lost sight of what was important to me, my values and my goals, I was too entrenched in fighting the good fight to prove I was none of those that I was being labelled, losing the fight, the battle and eventually the war (metaphorically speaking of course). I eventually proved them right because I didn't stay true to me, something that attracted them to me in the first place.
Even us coaches have our down periods, you know, when things aren't going as we would like them to go or had visioned. Coaches are only human too.
So please, keep your mind on your goals, hold yourself true to your values, and decide if a fight is worth having or simply walk away holding your head up and be the better person by not engaging in trench warfare as it felt I did, and still ended up on the losing side.
If you don’t know what your goals or true values are, your coach can always help you find them.
Coaches do not tell you what they are, they have the tools to help you find them for yourselves.
In a future post, I’ll share the invaluable resource I've just discovered that is enabling me to get back on track and be the person I was a few years ago.