How Neil helped me put my big girl pants on
We're living in a day where almost everything we say is going to offend someone. Most of us take one of two approaches. Shut up and only say "nice" things or stop caring about others feelings and say whatever we think, whenever we think it. My husband, Neil, is boisterous, opinionated, and a class clown. He's also a loving and insightful friend. Over the years he's helped me think and act like a grown up which is important if you're going to have a grown up relationship or job.
Here are 4 "put on your big girl pants" rules
(They apply to the fellas too)
Let your yes be yes...
When we were 1st married Neil worked full time for our church and I was leading 1-3 grade children's church. One night, before a training meeting for 50 volunteers, I was freaking out because I had procrastinated and wasn't prepared. I turned to him for help hoping he would sweep me off my feet, do the training for me and save the day. He did hug me but then looked me in the eye, his hands on my shoulders, and told me that this was my job and he couldn't save me from it. If he rescued me this time he would have to again. I walked away plotting his death but I was a changed person. I scrambled to prepare, led the training, and grew in confidence. You're not doing anyone a favor to commit to something you are not prepared to follow through with. Neil says no to things he knows he can't fit in, shows up on time, and finishes each project he agrees to do.
Tell the Truth
Well duh, but in this case I'm talking about the hard truth. That thing you know someone would really benefit from hearing but you don't want to be the one to say it. Many times have I sqirmed and squinted as he lovingly told someone a hard truth. Let me make clear that this is a non judgmental and well thought out insight, not a shoot from the hip, self serving stab to the heart. Most of those times the receiver was not happy to hear it but over the years I have seen again and again folks share how helpful that truth was to them and instrumental in their growth. Neil doesn't mind making people mad for the right reasons and I have come to see this as a sacrificial and loving service wether in business or personal relationships.
Don't get offended
He can't just dish it, he can take it! I used to be very sensitive and get my feelings hurt easily but Neil has helped me develope "rhino skin". I've become hard to offend, not because I don't care, but because I choose not to take offenses personal or take myself so serious. He's quick to remind me that everyone has a reason for doing what they do, everyone has hurts, everyone has a different sense of humor and surprisingly, everyone sees things a little differently. Giving people the benefit of the doubt has brought so much peace into my relationships, especially as I learn to work along side some of my best friends! It's much easier to tell the hard truth and resolve conflict when you're not stewing over an offense or sucking your thumb. There is a treasure waiting for the person who can take criticism, see if there is truth to be learned from it, and let go of the rest.
Go for the Gold
I'm not talking about winning here, although my husband is fiercely competitive- that's for another blog. Here I mean looking for the best in others. Finding the hidden talent, noticing the budding dream, having a vision for what your friends and loved ones can become. When you believe in the potential of those around you it makes it much easier to tell them the truth and not get offended by their words or actions. It puts you on the same team as them with you as the cheer leader! I've been shocked at what he is able to draw out of people in his work, and sometimes those people are even shocked too! You can't fake that. It takes caring and investing to find those nuggets!
Neither Neil or I have perfected any of these rules in our lives but they are rules we live by nevertheless. We hold each other to them and are better for them. I'm grateful to have a husband who pushes me to be a more loving, less fearful person and in turn a better friend and leader. Find someone you respect and look up to and let them tell you the hard truth! Putting on your big girl pants is a little like trying on skinny jeans for the 1st time. It may not feel right but it will change your life! Go team!