Article by: Brittany Kilpatrick
Edited by: Rachel Meyers
Photo courtesy of: Google Images
Sometimes when people struggle or seem to not reach their fullest potential, you may decide that tough love is the best approach. It is necessary, at times, to be hard on those we care about. We really do want to see them succeed, but what if your method of communication is ineffective? Misunderstandings can occur when trying to be tough with people you love. If too tough, you could end up defeating the purpose of helping people. Ever heard the saying, “Too much of a good thing?” Too much of a good thing is exactly what can occur when using tough love. You start off with the goal in mind to push the other person in the right direction. However, if you aren’t mindful, you can overdo it and go about it the wrong way.
If people are constantly told what they aren’t doing right, without an occasional compliment, all they will feel capable of is failure. If you really love her, you don’t want her to feel that way. You don’t have to coddle her or pat her on the back constantly, but please take the time to let her know you are proud of her once in a while. You will accomplish more in the long run by doing so. Tell her that you are proud of her. Don’t just tell others.
People who give tough love tend to repeat themselves too much. Instead, give her advice or casually nudge her one time and then give her a respectable amount of time to take in what you said and potentially apply it to what she needs to do. You don’t need to constantly scrutinize her. No one likes to be under a microscope. It is like a child who has parents that always watch her every move. It suffocates her and makes it hard for her to think and make wise, independent decisions. The child then rebels, unintentionally begins to falter, or does not make any progress at all. Give her space. Let her breathe, and think for herself, because when it comes down to it, it is her life, not yours. What you think is the best approach or what she needs to do may be the opposite of what is best for her. What was best for your life isn’t the same for someone else’s. Also, be aware of how you come across. No one likes to be insulted. Even if what you said isn’t insulting, the way you say it can be. You want to encourage her, push her forward, not insult her and push her backward.
Tough love has to be advanced with caution and supplemented with real love. No one likes to be pricked all the time. Occasionally they need a Band-Aid. Remember that. When trying to help her, be careful of letting your ego get in the way. No one is better than anyone else. No one has more valuable opinions than another person in these types of situations. Show a little tough love here and there, when she needs it, but don’t go overboard. Too much of good thing isn’t a good thing. Zero plus zero does not equal one. If you add tough love plus tough love you get nothing. You need tough love plus real love to find harmony and accomplish anything.