I have no problem issuing statements.
Declaring my assessment of another’s person’s character is actually quite easy. “He is mean.” “She is judgmental.” “He is lazy.” “She is a gossip.” Such statements can be even more specific. “He is exclusive and not inclusive in his relationships with people.” “She resents people that have obtained advanced degrees.” I can assess a person’s character in a matter of seconds by stating what certainly appears to be obvious.
I often experience great difficulty asking questions.
How am I mean to other people? In particular, how have I been mean to the person that I perceive to be that way? In what situations do I find myself being judgmental? When am I lazy? What triggers me to gossip about another person? When was the last time I excluded another person from my social circle? In what ways do I resent people that have enjoyed experiences that I somehow missed in life?
Questions should precede statements.
There is a time to make statements. There are times to be honest and say: that person needs to learn a few lessons about being socially inclusive. But I think the character assessment of another person will be more constructive if questions precede statements. Self-evaluation has a way of removing smugness. Asking the hard questions peels the layers of pride away.
Am I too late for a resolution?
We are already ten days into a new year. Is it too late to express a New Year’s resolution? I hope not! I have just resolved to ask more questions and issue fewer premature statements that malign another person’s character. I am anxious to see how that will transform some attitudes that really need to change.