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Why You Should Be Critical, Not Likable

Why You Should Be Critical, Not Likable

Every individual has three bodies.

First is the physical body, second is the mental body and third is the causal body. The physical body is just a structure of flesh and bones and not an accurate representation of the individual. If someone is beautiful and attractive, we think that this is a good person. It is our individual imagination which derives a conclusion based on an observation, which may or may not be entirely true. Individual imagination is again very subjective and hence, the physical body is not an accurate representation of an individual.

The mental body is actually who you are. It is who you imagine yourself to be. The mental body is your personality to yourself and it is this mental body which propels your action, behavior and thoughts. It is the mental body which defines what is right, what is wrong, what makes one happy, what makes one sad.

The causal body is how others see you. Your causal body is different for different individuals since it is up to the onlooker and his imagination to perceive you as someone.

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When you shouldn’t worry about “Being Likable”

When we say You, we actually refer to the amalgamation of three bodies into one.

  • Physical body – how nature sees you.
  • Mental body – how you see yourself
  • Causal body – how others see you.

Human hunger and behavior is mostly a function of the mental and causal bodies. You imagine yourself to be someone but the world sees you as a different personality. Let’s take an example.

John runs a grocery store and is very fond of poetry and fiction. In his free time, he composes poems and actively participates with the literary community. John sees himself as a poet who runs a grocery store to make a living. However, his readers see him as a grocery store owner who writes poems for an avocation.

This is the mother of all behavioral conflicts that arise in our day to day lives. The difference between the mental and causal bodies of an individual.

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When someone cracks a joke at John – “The grocery store guy writes good poems”, John feels dis-empowered. John perceives himself as a poet but the world has a different perception about John.

John cannot go and change the world’s perception about him in one day. It shall take some time and it is possible that the perception may never change. What will be the outcome if John constantly worries about “Being Likable”?

John will suffer from a personality conflict. John is “Likable” as a grocery store guy and not as a poet. The causal body of John is that of a grocery store owner. This is how John is perceived in this world. This is John’s visible reality. If John wants to be “Likable”, he will have to behave the way the world sees him. He will have to open the grocery store in time, serve his customers with a smiling face and get everything sorted.

This behavior will not satiate John’s ambition. John’s mental body is that of a poet and in order to feel empowered and find meaning in life, he must act according to his mental body. He must devote more time in becoming a good poet, read books and improve his writing skills.

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John’s ambitions cannot afford to settle with “Likable John”. John’s ambitions demand him to be “Critical” and stay focused on his vision of becoming a poet.

If you are chasing a goal, you can’t afford to “Be Likable”

Nobody wants to be with you. Everybody wants to be with the person they perceive you to be.

You are “Likable” to your boss, so long you obey his commands and act exactly the way he wants you to act. You are “Likable” to your spouse, so long you stay loyal. You are “Likable” to your neighbors, so long you don’t cause nuisance. You are “Likable” to your relatives and friends, so long you give them your attention.

Everybody wants you to be exactly how they want you to be. The moment there is some aberration in your behavior, this “Likability” will disappear.

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The moment you start working on your own idea or company, your boss will see you as a threat to the organization. It doesn’t matter how loyally you have served the organization for years, the perception will change and the years of hard work you have put to become the “Likable guy” will evaporate.

The moment your partner gets a new job and falls for an attractive colleague, your “Likability” ceases to exist. This is just a difference of perception of the onlooker and there is nothing you can do about it.

So we see, there is always a condition attached with “Likability”.

If you are chasing a difficult goal, you cannot afford to become “Likable”. This is because you are a different person to each onlooker and it is impossible to gratify each onlooker’s expectations. Your pursuit of a goal will cause disruption and it is critical to be “Critical” in your pursuit and not “Likable”.

This doesn’t translate to one should be rude and smug about his endeavors. Just be who you are and pay attention to your mental body. In time, you will attract people and personalities in your life who will like you for who you are and not how “Likable” you are to them.

Featured photo credit: A young woman is sitting on a bench at sunset on an autumn day in the city via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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