Is it really “tough love” or when we believe we are administering “tough love” is it more out of pure love for those we are trying to help …
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Is it really “tough love” or when we believe we are
administering “tough love” is it more out of pure love for those we
are trying to help grow or protect?
Personal experience tells me that many people talk a good game,
or use “tough words,” but when it comes right down to it, few of us
have the courage, stamina, or patience to actually administer
‘tough love’ when it is required. We defer to silence instead of
Intuitively we know that sometimes we will be placed in a
position where we are given the opportunity or maybe forced to make
difficult decisions when trying to help people grow or learn. The
simple part is knowing what that “tough love” action or non-action
in some cases should be, executing and actually seeing it through …
well … not so easy.
The question we have to ask ourselves is this, are we choosing a
path of “tough love” for the right reasons or are we using “tough
love” as a manipulative tactic? Too often parents, spouses, and
some managers hide behind the premise of “tough love” only to drive
a personal or hidden agenda.
If our motives are based out of pure love, and honest intent to
really help someone, we have no reason to fear the possible
outcomes or lose heart when enforcing our decisions or actions.
Remember that “tough love” is a concept, a philosophical
approach to helping people get to a point where they see for
themselves the changes that have to be made in their own personal
or professional life. “Tough love” should never, ever, include acts
of violence. In one man’s opinion, mine, acting out in violence or
physicality in any way and then hiding behind the “tough love”
moniker is not pure love, it is pure cowardice.
If we understand the why, how, what, and when to administer
“tough love” and we know that by standing our ground, staying
committed to the desired outcome or change, we can move forward
knowing we are doing the right thing for all the right reasons.
Really, how many parents continue to extend driving privileges
to a child who has their second or third speeding ticket? Even
though the state may not have pulled their child’s license, the
parent can certainly revoke driving privileges. Instead, what
happens is that it becomes too inconvenient for the parent or
siblings or friends to have to drive the child everywhere so the
parents cave in and give them access to the car again. What happens
is that discipline is abandoned in the face of convenience.
The same happens in the workplace. Management sometimes turns a
blind eye toward certain situations or even individuals where they
know what the right thing to do is, they know they need to
administer “tough love” or at least make tough decisions, but
ultimately choose not to. Whether it is because of a tendency to
avoid conflict, to act passive-aggressively, or fear of losing an
employee, they forget that sometimes sacrifices have to be made for
the greater good of the company.
Most people also have to be reminded that the outcome of “tough
love” administered out of “pure love” is generally positive and
better than the fears in our imagination want us to believe.
Let me know your view of “tough love” at email@example.com
and together let’s make it a better than good week.
Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former
president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of
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