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Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Generational | 4 comments

Can I be Honest AND Honoring?

Can I be Honest AND Honoring?

CanIbeHonestDoes honor require us to stuff our feelings down and never communicate how we really feel? Or is it possible to have healthy communication that allows us to express feelings and keep an honoring posture?

Not long ago I met with a young adult at our church to discuss an email he had sent to our Lead Pastor. I wanted to help him see how the tone of his email was hurtful and dishonoring. He explained to me that he believed the most honoring thing he could do was to share his feelings in a straightforward manner, in the same way he would to a peer or friend. In his mind, he would do a disservice to the Pastor by toning down his harsh rhetoric.

This young man was missing the point. By sharing his feelings in “the same way he would to a peer or friend,” he demonstrated that he placed no special value on the relationship with his pastor. Honor is not about catering to the emotional needs of others, but rather making an effort in every communication to value, respect and give weight to their position. When you value someone, you communicate with them as if they are special. It’s okay to give them the special treatment. Actually, that’s the point!

I believe you can be honest and forthright about your feelings and emotions and still keep a posture that honors. It will take special care, thought, and a greater time commitment, but your willingness to do that will go a long way in communicating honor to your parents, bosses, and spiritual leaders.

Tips for Being Honest AND Honoring: (Click to Tweet)

  • Set aside adequate time for communication.
  • Be willing to invest emotional energy.
  • Calm down. Deal with your anger and offense first.
  • Don’t make negative assumptions about motives.
  • Communicate respectfully.
  • Ask Questions. Seek to Understand before being Understood.
  • Communicate how their actions make you feel, not how they need to change.
  • Consider that it may not be your place/role to give critical feedback.
  • Make it clear how much you value them.

How about you? What tips can you share for communicating honestly with honor?

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  • As always, great advice! I feel like “Seek to understand before being understood” is especially helpful, and especially hard to learn. I’ve certainly had many occasions in which I did not like a leader’s decision, but, once I learned the reasoning behind that particular choice, I was able to accept it much more easily.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. Covey’s habit Seek first to Understand has changed the way I think about communication. Very powerful tool! You can’t do that without some send of honor/value for the person your listening too.

  • What a great post- always be considerate no matter how you feel and communication is key.

    Don’t react straight away and let emotions control you. Wait and wait some more to give yourself some perspective.