Speak At Your Own Risk

Some people are oblivious to the effects of their behavior. How one could be so oblivious may seem like a mystery, but it isn’t. It is purely a lack of self awareness. I not only hold the oblivious person responsible, but also the people closest to that person.

Truth be told…we don’t see ourselves as clearly as we think we do.

As a Life Coach, I tend to be pretty direct. Okay, very direct. I have been called the Simon Cowell of coaching. I hope I am a little gentler then him. I mix his candor with Paula’s gentle voice. I believe the truth is necessary for growth, so I give it as a gift.

I attended a professional training this weekend. Not my idea of a fun-filled Saturday, but I was going to make the best of it.

So, we get to the point in the presentation when the trainer says “it’s time to get into groups,” and instead of us choosing our own groups, the presenter creates the groups for us. Everyone is crossing their fingers and holding their breath, hoping that they don’t get placed in a group with that one person in the room who will make you want to gouge out your own eyeballs. As the trainer gets to the back of the room where I am sitting, she does the unthinkable. She puts me in a group with that very person, the most obnoxious one the room. I don’t make this stuff up. I could have done a poll right then and there, and he would have taken the resident jerk title hands down, with or without my vote.

I look around at the other groups, and they are starting to discuss the topic at hand. We (me and the two other soon-to-be tormented members) reluctantly move into our group. Other groups look back at us with pity-filled eyes.

We begin to answer a set of questions given by the presenter. Of course “Mr. Obnoxious 2008” doesn’t like the questions, hates all of our answers, and begins to make a joke about the presenter’s hair. The other two members begin to check out of the activity because they are tired of him throwing daggers of criticism at their answers. I have been elected the recorder, so I still have to communicate with him, but we are almost done with the questions. Then…he rudely makes a comment to me that he doesn’t want to hear the rest of my point. I thought for a milli-second that I may have to get ghetto on him, when I realized I am a professional. I take a deep breath and think, “here we go.”

I inform him, in a gentle way, that he is rude, that I don’t care about his opinions of our answers, and I don’t care whether the presenter is wearing a toupee or not. At that moment, the groups were told to go back to their seats. In slow motion, I see his face grimace with an expression that says, “no you did not just talk to me that way.”

I think, “yes I did. I had to. If not me…who?” My group members bestow on me smirks of gratitude. Someone has finally shut him up.

My intention was to give him a gift… it is called the truth.

I never want to be him: oblivious. I pray that I am aware of how I interact and affect others. I pray that in those moments when I am not fully aware, people around me or who love me will let me know.

We have all been present when someone says or does something and there is an obese pause, not pregnant, but truly obese. That person is oblivious. Everyone is thinking variations of, “what the hell did he/she just say…no he/she didn’t…I can’t believe this fool.” Everyone is waiting for someone to say something, but no one has the energy to respond because it seems it would not make a difference.

I think it might. I love to be present in that moment. It is an opportunity to save this person from their ignorance, and to save others from their inappropriate behavior.

The lesson (I am always looking for one) is to become more self aware, watch out for those obese pauses, and tell the people closest to you the truth. Please don’t allow your friends, family and significant others to torture the rest of the world with their ignorant ways any longer.

Remember…it’s always love.

ReNina Minter is a former elementary school teacher who followed her passion and earned a Masters in Clinical Psychology. Minter is now a Certified Life Coach. Check out her website at Her editorials are exclusive to Urban Thought Collective.

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