Updated: Jun 15
Have you ever said to someone, 'I am concerned'?
Recently, after expressing my 'concern' to someone I care about - unfortunately more than once, it was pointed out to me that my concern made this person doubt themselves.
Now, I would wager that when we express concern, there is generally no intent to make someone doubt themselves, but after it was said to me, I really had to stop and look at this because they were 100% right.
I started by looking at what 'concern' is and what it's made up of.
Here's what I found:
Concern can be made up of worry, and what's underneath worry?
So when we are in a state of concern, we can be afraid of a possible outcome.
If we are in a state of fear when we are expressing concern, we aren't neutral, and when we aren't neutral, we project our fears onto others.
When we project our fears onto someone, we end up dropping a picture of 'you're not safe' or, worse, programming them to believe they are not safe.
Everyone has their own truth, and your concern possibly just replaced it...hence resulting in someone doubting themselves.
Concern may translate into, ' I don't think you are capable, ' and is that what you really want to convey?
Can we express concern without projecting?
I think so. But it requires coming from a place of clarity and neutrality rather than from the fear picture.
The reason for your concern is another factor.
You can be concerned about the direction a project is going, and you probably don't have a lot of fear there - your concern is based on skill, experience, and perspective. Versus being concerned about a choice someone is making; if you love them and it worries you, your concern is going to be laced with fear.
It's important to ask yourself why you need to express your concern (about an individual's choices).
I know, in your heart, it is probably out of love, but we need to let people live their lives and have their experiences.
We learn and grow through our experiences - both good and bad - so in the end, you can't bubblewrap people and stop them from living and learning.
In this particular situation, I felt that it was my job to express my concern, and to some degree, it absolutely is, but at the same time, I see how that concern was not received as it was intended.
In any event, I am extremely conscious now of expressing my concern.
Before I do, I reflect on where my concern is coming from and how I intend to express it.
It's something to think about.
Let me know your thoughts.
I was puttering in the kitchen this morning thinking about this post and want to add that we are also not responsible for how people react or respond to what we say. So what I'm saying here is that you don't have to feel guilty or shameful if something you said is taken the wrong way. That's on them. However, we can learn from how people react and respond to us - as I say, always look at what's behind and beneath your words and your actions. Your greatest healing and growth oftentimes live there.