The delicate art of telling someone you love about themselves...

"Oye Mi Canto", by my sister & friend, California artist Anna Alvarado
We've all been there, that moment when someone you love is not acting right-- being self centered, engaging in self destructive behavior, being bitchy, eating horrendous meals and complaining about not losing weight-- the list of vices is endless. So, at what point do you as take a deep breath and tell the person about herself?  And, is it your business to tell a friend or relative when they are acting up or say, doing something that is self destructive? If that person is not disrespecting you or crossing the boundaries you have established for how you want to be treated, and the behaviour does not affect you directly, is it best to throw a silent prayer their way, let them go over the edge and you keep it moving? Or is it an act of friendship, or dare say, bravery, to tell that friend that she or he is out of control?

I go back and forth on this one. And lately, I've been shutting my mouth and offering a kind smile instead. Why? On the one hand, I think that people need to go through their experiences to learn and any intrusion, on my part is, frankly, extra.  On the other hand, maybe it does takes care, compassion and courage to go in there and have that tough conversation. Throughout my live, I've had amazing teachers who kindly, boldly, rudely or flat out bitchily, pointed out some things about me that weren't correct. Yup, I am deeply flawed people... But these moments, as tough as they were to hear sometimes, have allowed me to grow. Many times, I admit, it took me a while to get it and the message was lost in the delivery. But most often, I retreated, and retreat to quiet reflection. Oft times, I see the point.

But the reason why lately I've been holding back is because I've noticed that few people like to hear feedback, no matter how loving, kind or right you may be. Simply put, they can quickly see and point about others shitty behavior but are incredibly blind to their own failings. My mother has a saying: la gente esta pendiente mas de la vida ajena que la de ellos mismos... So, I try to have insight into mine as much as I can because as they say, if you want change in the world, it starts with you!

And then it spreads out... So when I talk to someone about themselves -- my mini interventions --  I've learned to always try to employ a Dali Lama-esque approach, gentle and with compassion. I kindly go in. Sometimes the person listens, many other times, it's a disaster.

Recently I mentioned to a young relative of mine who has a weight problem-- and we know that obesity can lead to all kinds of health issues -- from high cholesterol, to diabetes, heart disease and more -- to try as best to eat healthier meals. I gave him suggestions. Shared with him the valid reasons: junk food and a video game sedentary lifestyle is simply dangerous. I extolled the virtues of more water, veggies, and exercise. I took care not to be preachy, or judgmental, but loving.  And, it did not go well because I told him in the presence of other relatives and it became a group conversation that embarrassed my loved one. Lesson learned.

But it's delicate.

As disastrous as my last mini-intervention was, I still err on on the side of pointing out, read: not judging, but pointing out when things are simply whack with those I love. Good luck with that.