As a manager one thing is guaranteed to cause absolute and total infuriation. No, it isn’t failing a deadline. No it isn’t a lapse in communication. It isn’t automatic when someone fails to listen. The most infuriating moment comes when I know I am being played or worked, especially when the method of choice is telling me exactly what someone thinks I wan to hear. The extreme of this example occurs when someone decides that “brown nosing” is the course of action. I find myself reacting before I can think or control myself! My response to flattering manipulation is rejection and experiential punishment.
When one relates to someone more powerful the temptation to flatter is always there. If nothing else the belief embedded deep in our collective souls is that flattery will smooth troubled waters and increase our standing. Yet I am convinced that anyone with a soul that is filled with integrity, compassion, and love will reject each offer of flattery.
How does one know the difference between flattery and a complement? In most cases the difference comes in the relationship. If there is an intense, ongoing, and growing relationship between two individuals then complements will be consistent with others actions. Words of flattery will be inconsistent and for one who knows the true source of self-worth obvious.
This doesn’t mean that true words of admiration, acknowledgement, and appreciation never flow between two in relationship. Quite the opposite! Lovers remind each other of the things that they appreciate and admire. Friends talk of the things that they appreciate in the other, almost as a personal reminder of the value that the friendship as part of life itself. In this context the words of those around God come into focus.
“Oh, Yes! The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, the honor and power and strength, to our God forever and ever and ever! Oh, Yes!” (Revelation 7.12)
We are invited to be part of this relationship and party. We only join through faith and a journey filled with experience. I’m joining. Care to join me?