I’ve had years of training for welfare. To create comfortable, accepting, non-judgemental spaces for discussions to occur. A ‘safe’ space, or a ‘brave’ space.
So you can imagine my shock when I was listening to a podcast wherein the invitee, someone I massively respected thus far, said he didn’t believe in safe spaces. That he didn’t have them in his relationship, or at his workplace.
As ‘thank God I’m not his wife’ as that sounded at first, I will admit, it took me about 10 seconds to come around to agreeing with him. Let’s see if I can do the same here. (worth listening to the whole podcast though, it’s so good!)
In long-term relationships: with family, partners, colleagues, he argued that it’s worth sacrificing emotional cushioning for real honesty.
“In being honest, we’re going to be direct, we’re going to say harsh things - in the spirit of ‘I want to lift you up, I want to see you get better’.”
And I will say that I love that. I believe I’ve often gone too much in the whole other direction of ‘I must be fully kind, polite and supportive for someone to feel OK’.
And while noone is arguing for rude honesty, there’s perhaps something to be said for consensual, respectful honesty.
The type that tells you you’ve not been great and that you’ve made poor choices when you ask. The type that accepts you at the not-so-great times and is honest about wanting a change. The type that supports and believes in improvements while accepting and calling the present what it is: sometimes not amazing.
And furthermore, this attitude gives full credibility to compliments when they’re there. To shared brainstorming for improvement. To support and trustworthiness. I will say, I am a fan.
Curious as to your thoughts!
Hoping you have an amazing week,