Monday, February 09, 2015
“I say this in love” has caused a lot of damage over the years.He's right here, but in my experience there are usually two things going on when this phrase comes up. One the person offering the zinger has a genuine insight, but simply lacks the linguistic skill to offer it less painfully, and two, it "seems" unloving because it hits home so hard.
I’ve been the recipient of this kind of “love” and sometimes it doesn’t seem very loving to me.
I’ve seen people preface a mean-spirited zinger of a comment with a disclaimer of love, but it’s still a mean-spirited zinger. [emphasis added]
Yes, there are mean and cruel gossips in the world that use the phrase "offered in love" as some sort of "get out of jail free" card, but I think they are the exception, not the rule. I think we would be smart when we hear the phrase to lower, not raise our defenses. I think we would be smart when we hear the phrase to believe the speaker. In this fashion we can listen to what they say before we decide they are mean-spirited in their comments. We can put it through our filters and make a determination before we write it off.
We need criticism to improve. We need to take it, even when it hurts and even when it is offered by those that sometime lack grace in the offering. My best chemistry teacher routinely called me a "retard." No grace, but a great teacher, all I had to do was listen. (And yes, decades later he is a friend.)
criticism grace love