We were both wrong.
"Why can't you just be the person we all used to know and love?"
Yes, my grandfather said this to me once.
I think we all have choices in how we communicate. And getting it wrong sometimes is part of being human.
Both my grandfather and I got this one wrong. Maybe you can learn from our mistakes.
Most of the shame I've felt in my life has come from poor communication - either my own or from someone else.
My natural response is to turn inward. I didn't want to talk to my grandfather about how it made me feel when he made that comment. And I didn't. We already didn't have a great relationship, and that comment ended further effort on my part.
He should have been more careful with his words. That's 100% on him. His lack of caution and lack of respect cost him a relationship. He could have approached me at any point and said "I feel like we have a conflict here." He didn't.
BUT. I could have spoken up. I could have said, "hey, it sounds like you don't love the person I am today, which sucks because I really like myself." I could have used all of my experience in conflict resolution and leadership to build a relationship.
Instead, I shut him out.
We were both wrong. And because of that, it was SUPER awkward when I took my infant son to meet him. We just pretended everything was semi-okay and tried to make the best of the time. That was the last time I saw him.
You're going to make mistakes. We all do.
And you can spend your days shaming yourself over mistakes, or have compassion for yourself and keep growing.
If you're want more concrete advice on how to handle conflicts, check out the conflict resolution mini-series over at the Leadership School Podcast.
Today's Leadership Lessons:
Be conscious of how you're communicating
Admit when you're wrong
Be willing to walk away from relationships that are hurting you