Thursday, September 18, 2014

Speak Life

This week I have been reading the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” written by Dale Carnegie in the 1930s.  Dale Carnegie was an influential man himself who taught businessmen and professionals how to succeed. 

Although the book is a classic, we would do well as a modern society to put into practice the principles he suggests.   

The first principle is “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.”  Maybe Mr. Carnegie received his inspiration from the Bible.   A number of scriptures deal with this same theme.

It’s so easy to express what we think another person should do.   I’m guilty at times.  This chapter convicted me.  I want to be a person who loves unconditionally those in my sphere of influence instead of putting them down.

How many people have you criticized that embraced what you said and changed anyway?   Most do not.  In fact, they justify their behavior and may even turn it back to you.  It also often breeds resentment.  The only exception I can think of is when in an accountability situation for the purpose of receiving input.  

There are times when we must confront certain things though.  I’m not suggesting that we stuff our feelings only to have them turn into bitterness.    

Here are some suggestions when you are tempted to criticize, condemn or complain:

1.             Don’t confront the issue immediately.  Take some time to cool down and assess the situation.

2.             Write down good qualities of the person you are dealing with.

3.             Examine your motives.
a.    Why do you want to bring this subject up?

b.    What will it accomplish?

c.     Will your suggestions be well received?

d.    Will the confrontation bring resolve to the situation?  

4.             Write down the things you want to discuss.

5.             Pray about the right timing.  Should you just vent on paper instead?

6.             At the right time, walk in unconditional love and acceptance.  

7.             Choose your words wisely.  Try to understand why the other person is doing what they are by giving them the chance to share too.  

As you follow these steps, it really will not be criticism, condemnation or complaining.  It will become communication which every relationship needs to succeed.

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