“Human Kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” -FDR
This quote makes me think about how some of us treat, or may have treated others in a certain way, in the name of “tough love”, and how it sometimes end up being more damaging than helpful to a relationship (any relationship, not necessarily romantic). Tough love is intended to help, improve or strengthen, and not to break someone’s spirit – or is it? The bottom line is, we should generally treat people in a manner that is respectful, considerate, and in a way that we would hope that someone would treat or regard us. If we, ourselves, deem or perceive certain actions or behavior as hurtful or unacceptable and we KNOW how horrible it feels, why on earth would we put someone else through the same thing, in the name of tough love?
I’m convinced that if we could simply resolve to be our better self as much as possible, by showing and living “a certain way,” thereby demonstrating what is and isn’t acceptable in our lives, then we would probably become less and less inclined to resort to tough love and just simply love. Is it worth it to deliberately and insistently make efforts to get someone else to SEE, experience or understand something or a certain way of being on our clock and to our own expectations?
We must allow folks the room to grow, to learn and to figure things out at their own pace, especially if we love and respect them and sincerely want to see them do better and if we want them to remain in our lives. Tough love between adults or children that is ambiguous, erratic, ego “out of control” driven, and emotionally abusive or cruel is awful and unproductive. The next time we’re showing tough love, let’s ask ourselves if WE ourselves would accept someone treating us in the manner that we’re treating someone else.