When you mention chocolate, only those who are allergic to it cringe. Most everyone else puts their hand out with a grin. Do you?
There is one place where no one wants chocolate.
See, a chocolate-covered turd is still just crap.
Some people call it euphemisms. Some call it sugar-coating. Some call it sparing people’s feelings. In the end, it is merely pointing exuberantly at the brilliant blue in the sky while someone is standing in quicksand.
In the workplace, chocolate has made itself less of a fixture. Bosses tend to tell employees precisely how they have (mismanaged, misdirected, misplaced) company assets. While it is important not to make your employees feel like the picture above, it is expected correction for mistakes be uncluttered with praise.
Regardless of how polite anyone feels we are, when we chocolate-cover turds to hand to others, we are being anything but polite. We are making the assumption the truth is crap. No reason for us to define assume, is there?
We feel the need to sugarcoat truths when we believe the revelation of those truths is hurtful. Before we whip out the fondue pot to dip that turd we really need to look at some things. Why do we believe this truth hurtful?
Our number one reason to chocolate dip is we do not believe the person to whom we are telling the truth is mature enough to take it with grace. No, this does not mean children. This means adults.
Adults all mature at different rates. In many cases, the maturation process is slower based on a lack of exposure. If a twenty-something has never been to a funeral, one would consider sugarcoating the announcement of a grandparent’s death. While most would choose a euphemism for death, the fact remains: Grandparent died.
B. Emotional Instability
Coupled with immaturity is emotional instability. Even mature adults can exhibit emotional instability when told the truth.
Commonly, attempting to soften the blow of a breakup is an example of dipping the truth in chocolate. If you know in advance Mate is going to emotionally crumble at the news you are moving away, the chocolate could be anything: a text message, telling the truth in a public place or waiting until the day you are moving to prevent seeing the breakdown.
Some people are oblivious to their states of being. Throughout their lives, no one has had the chutzpah to tell them the truth for fear it would shatter (appearances, delusions, assumptions) on which they operate.
The woman who organizes all of the social functions finds nothing whatsoever wrong with her singing in the a cappella caroling chorus. Rather than tell the truth (Her singing would call vultures.), someone in the chorus asks her to be sure every house receives copies of the lyrics… Meanwhile, they sing without her.
Occasionally, truth bringers are shot messengers. The truth receiver shoots the messenger when they are uncomfortable with the truth.
Adults, especially those in the A, B and C groups, can misinterpret the truth when they first encounter it. They believe the truth bringer must have caused the change from what they always knew was the truth. A new executive comes into a company to replace a retiring CFO.
A cursory look at the books reveals inventory errors which have cost the company money. When the new executive brings it to the attention of the board, they look back with accusatory eyes. Surely it could not have been their beloved founder who made such egregious (self-profiting) missteps. The board posts the new executive’s position before the ink is dry on the pink slip.
Those whose esteem we hold in high regard are candidates for chocolates. We are not willing to tarnish their opinions of us.
The adult child comes to the end of a first marriage after years of fighting to make it work. Affairs, abuse and lies were daily fare for the last few years. Why end it now? Mate’s parents, who supported the young couple and believed their child-in-law hung the moon even before grandchildren, are dead. There is no more reason to put on saccharine smiles for holiday feasts and play happy family.
Every day, adults suffer under the fear of telling the whole, unadulterated, unadorned, non-chocolate-covered truth.
A. Death is a part of life. No pretty words make the loss of a loved one any easier. Calling it passing away does not made the decedent any less dead. Offer comfort with the announcement.
B. If someone is unstable, share the hurtful truth in the confines of a counselor’s office. Help them seek help.
C. Rather than letting actions lie, set a standard to exclude those who are incapable. This is not discrimination. If it were, your nephew could play on a professional sports team.
D. Take the risk. The truth is worth the retaliation when you remember you are the bigger person for standing up and declaring a situation. At best, things and people change. At worst, you exchange the close-minded circle for a more open-minded one.
E. No one can live for anyone else. Attempting it kills the heart, soul and identity of the one trying. Be who you are, whatever it is.
With which group are you most familiar? Have you found yourself in one of the groups? Why do we insist the truth is so unbearable? If we never identify the (faults, shortcomings, misdeeds), how will they ever change?
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