Then Again..

There's also the other side of the coin.

I've just read something written by someone I consider to be a very intelligent, creative and sensitive individual. The words he wrote in this particular instance were clearly the product of bruised ego and hurt feelings. People have had it "up to here" with his brazen and brutal critiques of their writing pieces and apparently several of them have taken the time to inform him of this. He took offense.. yet he defended his "honesty" even though it had hurt many people.

I can relate to this mans plight. I know all too well the weight of perfectionism and I can err on being just as critical of others as he is. In fact, this write itself is a critique of sorts. I guess the difference between us is that somewhere along the way, I realized that when you point a finger at someone else without first examining your own heart and life, you can only do more harm than good. This person hasn't realized that yet. In his mind, he is doing people a service by telling them "the ugly truth" about themselves. Granted, he also throws in embellished compliments with his cruel critques, but he has no happy medium. He refuses to see that he himself has much room for improvement. 

A proper term for what this person (and others like him) are, is an "intellectual narcissist". They are someone who believes their opinions to be so firmly based in the "fact" that they take on a sort of God complex when dishing out their variety of "truth". They feel that what they say is pure, unadulterated "constructive honesty" and that those they inflict their opinions on should feel grateful that they have been blessed with that "honesty" for once. Sadly, any person with any kind of God complex typically has far more issues than those they deign to enlighten with their very humble opinions.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that you catch more bees with honey. 

I believe there comes a time in most peoples lives when they are faced with the harsh reality that they are so far from perfect that they would do well to apply more effort to fixing themselves rather than fixing everyone else in their lives. But there are those of us who are so afraid of facing our own ugliness that we cannot see past our self righteousness enough to realize that we are the ones who need the most help. And no matter how good a persons intentions are, at the end of the day, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If you leave a trail of hurt feelings and pain behind you whenever you open your mouth, you might need to learn to just keep your mouth shut.

When it comes to expressing the "ugly truth", the Bible cautions us to do so with love. Love is ultimately the key to all of the problems we face in this life and few people really ever latch on to that idea and start to run with it. But whenever you encounter one of these people, you know it. Their grace and mercy shines a softer light on your own shortcomings so that you see your flaws for yourself and eventually develop your own personal desire to grow and evolve into something better than you are.

In dealing with others, no matter how intelligent you may be, it is always best to lead by example. Hypocrisy hidden behind a cloak of "brutal honesty" is still hypocrisy. 

"Life and death are in the power of the tongue"..

Choose life
Intelligently Intelligently
31-35, F
15 Responses May 15, 2011

I think the best way to determine if your critique is helpful or hurtful, is to ask yourself,
what is my intention here?
Am I trying to help this person or show my own superiority so I feel justified in being totally honest?
Or am I trying to model for this person how It could be done a little better in a different way?
It all depends on intention!

Well said. In laymen's terms, this type of human needs a filter .-)

I think I can remember this:

In view of your manner of spending your days,
I hope you may learn before ending them,
That the effort you spend in defending your ways,
Could better be spend in amending them.

Piet Hein, probably the best modern poet.

Unfortunately, bullies aren't just on the playground.

Good writing skills.

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth!" a well formulated response

Honesty is a strange creature!<br />
<br />
Handled well and with empathy, it can encourage and inform, even though technically it is a lie (e.g. White lies used for honest reasons).<br />
<br />
There are of course times when the unvarnished truth is essential (e.g. Scientific research, informing law makers and the courts), but that same truth is just brutal and counter-productive on other occasions, unless it takes into account the feelings or fears of the listeners (e.g. Theatre reviews, school reports, staff appraisals).<br />
<br />
An intellectual narcissist almost certainly lacks sufficient "emotional intelligence" to consider the impact of their truth on their audience.

Very well stated, Miss!

Dear settle back, a great answer to this young man looking for a way to become an intellectual man, you have put in the human qualities that a lot of intellectual people are not conscious of, and neglect to consider, which just makes them snobs in the first degree!
You can be very intellectual and intelligent and still be kind and caring!

"If your purpose is to really help someone as opposed to reassuring one's own sense of awesomeness then you want your criticism to be constructive and not destructive." <--- Exactly!

I found that your post in addressing this issue hits the nail on its head quite nicely.<br />
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Although I believe it is never okay to tell a lie, honesty never has to be brutal in such a sense of the word. In my opinion, brutal honesty, although it may occasionally come from an intelligent person, is much like performing "hard" work in contrast to "intelligent" work. For example, one may work hard digging a hole in the ground. What purpose does that hole serve? You could perform intelligent work on the other hand by digging a hole in the ground in order to reach underground pipes that need maintenance. There is at purpose in that.<br />
<br />
There is always something positive to say about someone. Often, there's so much positive to find in an individual that all you have to do is take a brief look. Sometimes it's not that hard to find. Sometimes it is. But it's always there. In the same way there are always negatives, but focussing on the negative aspect of things never helps anyone. <br />
<br />
If your purpose is to really help someone as opposed to reassuring one's own sense of awesomeness then you want your criticism to be constructive and not destructive. Let's not give too much undue credit to the negatives, shall we? Positive aspects about someone are always worth more than any negative aspect that you may find.

Very true, Prince. It just isn't worth it. The virtual world has taken down many appropriate boundaries for many people. In the real world, they may live their lives letting bygones be bygones but online, they will do the opposite because they don't have to face the reality that there is actually another human being on other end of that communication.<br />
<br />
I know most people won't accept responsibility for their actions, but I'm an idealist. I like to at least try to pop out the occasional public service annoucement in hopes that it'll give people another point of view to keep in mind.

clarkee: You doubt that it's possible to think before you speak everytime? I would have to disagree with that.. (if it is indeed what you're saying.)

i doubt that is possible all the time.<br />
<br />
i dont try to say hurtful things to people and usually i dont but once in a while when something strikes me, i might say something "brutally honest". it just comes out and without sounding like i have a 'god complex' when it just comes out its usually just the right thing to say. people usually respond to a hurt if its in the right kind of hurt. does that make sense? once in a while its not the right thing to say but i would atone for that. its just not possible, at least for me, sometimes to think first. i admire you if you can.

I have found sometimes, that those who are super intelligent, can often be so focused on "learning and information" that they can tend to forget the more "human" qualities like understanding and compassion. Mostly, I think their critiques are not given in a mean or malicious manner but could be far more helpful if delivered with an extra helping of tact and sensitivity!

Well written, we always need to be careful. You can also say that as you point your finger at someone you have three pointing right back at you.

I hope that whom ever this person is reads this. Well written, constructive and informative. Thank you Intelligently.