Anyone who has watched even a commercial for the Biggest Loser knows that Jillian Michaels yells and she packs a lot of intimidation into her 120 pounds. I know that she cares, I have witnessed phone calls to her contestants when the cameras aren’t on, I know she gets the emotional issues involved in weight gain and weight loss, but sometimes even I wonder why does Jillian sound so mean? My concern is generally if the people whom she is helping are even able to hear her caring and concern through the yelling.
So many times, in communication, the message can be lost in the delivery. If I am too challenging, as a therapist, before a client trusts me and knows everything I say comes from the motivation to encourage, equip, and empower, then that client can feel judged, which is never my goal.
After much disappointment in not being challenged, this summer I started taking a technique class with a dance troupe that nears perfection in their performances. At my first class, the instructor told me that she understood that I was less than a year out from hip surgery, but I really needed to work on my turnout. I could have gotten frustrated or felt inept, but I was encouraged by the challenge and the possibility of being pushed to a higher level. In that class, I am constantly challenged mentally to figure out what I need to be trying to do physically. I have watched some of the teenagers become very frustrated and miss how much the instructor cares due to her high expectations.
There are definitely people who are not trying to encourage you to be your best, but I would like to challenge you to try to see through the yelling or how someone in your life is speaking and hear what they are trying to say. Sometimes we allow our history with a person to confound a message also, just like you might not hear how much Jillian cares if you are not comfortable with how much a parent yelled. It is important to surround yourself with encouraging people when you are trying to make a life change. It is also important that when you care about someone making a life change, you communicate your encouragement as effectively as possible. Perhaps, if you can hear past the yelling, you will find more people who are a part of your support team.