How to share (difficult) truths with grace and compassion

Have you ever wondered how to effectively share with someone a “blind spot” that they may not realize is hurting them or holding them back? It can be tough to share a truth that someone doesn't see, and such truth-telling can often be met with denial, defensiveness, and conflict. In my role as a mentor, I often need to share difficult perspectives and insights with clients, and I've found ways to make a challenging process easer and better. Here are a few things that can help it go more smoothly:

  • Examine YOUR motives for sharing this truth with them. Is it because you care and want to support them, or is it because you want to be “right?” Do YOU have any charge around this issue? If you do, then it would be helpful for you to get neutral and clear before approaching them. Compassionate truth will go a lot further than righteousness.
  • Ask for permission before offering feedback. Make sure that the other person wants to hear what have to say, and that they’re open to expansion and personal development. Ask them to consider sitting with your reflection, rather than needing to respond or explain, and remind the other person that you're offering insight from a place of love.
  • Remind them of what is known to be true for them, and relate back to what they want and desire. For example, if the other person has told you that they’re desperate to be in a relationship, and yet all of their actions indicate the opposite, gently remind them that they’ve expressed a desire for love and commitment.
  • Reflect to them, with love, how you see them acting in a way that is contrary to their desire.
  • Offer to support them going forward. Perhaps they would like you to check in with them if/when you see them repeating the pattern? Or not. Either way is fine. Let go of attachment to what they decide.

Sometimes it'll go great (yay!!) and other times the person will give you a hundred reasons why you're wrong. But in my experience, someone who's truly open to expansion will be able to hear what you're saying, and will appreciate it… or at least they will, eventually 😉


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