Bless his heart or God love him, we are all imperfect

There are two expressions that either precede or follow a phrase where someone’s imperfections are mentioned. A Southern minister once told a group that “Bless his heart” is used to sand over a more offensive indictment. In other parts of the country, “God love him” would fill that role.

“She does not have the sense to get out of her own way, bless her heart,” someone might say. “He is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, God love him,” another might add. Invariably, the author of the quote would have their own imperfections.

We are an imperfect lot, all of us. Mark Twain famously said, “Common sense is not all that common.” Having been a manager of people and a HR consultant, one of the observations a colleague made sticks with me. “Every employee thinks they are above average, but that cannot be true.” If you contrast the self-grading performance to that of managers or peers, the self-grading would tend to be higher.

So, maybe we should use “Bless my heart,” when we self-reflect. “I need to do better at giving people the benefit of the doubt, bless my heart.” Or, “I need to not be critical of something I know little about or without knowing the context it was offered, God love me.”

Let me close with a great lesson from Dr. Wayne Dyer, the late, renowned self-improvement speaker. He used a term to “defend the absent.” So, if he was in a conversation which went in a direction of running someone down, he would defend the person’s actions since they were not here to defend themselves. “You know that does not sound like something (that person) might say,” he would interject.

We are all imperfect, bless our hearts. Let’s do better to listen to each other and understand points of view and the context in which they are offered. I am reminded of a Black man who convinced KKK members to turn in their robes – he did so by asking questions and listening to the answers. What a novel idea!

12 thoughts on “Bless his heart or God love him, we are all imperfect

  1. That is a wonderful post, Keith! Yes, we need to practice more self-reflection. We are all imperfect and at the same time perfect the way we are. Nobody is more right than another one because nobody stands in the other one’s shoes. I remember Wayne Dyer telling that story about defending an absent person. He said, he never joined any gossiping.

      • Whenever I was in one of his lectures I was fascinated by the light and love that surrounded him. He filled the biggest halls with his peaceful and centering energy. And that energy flew out of his books too whenever I opened them up.

      • Thanks for sharing your experience. I have never seen him live, but have watched a few of his sessions. I smiled as I read your review.

  2. Dear Keith,

    Thank you for sharing the reminder that we are better off, if we take time to truly listen to others and to give them always the benefit of the doubt.
    I do have a recurring nightmare of what I would do if I ever met President Donald Trump. I would behave, I hope.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, many thanks. I think if I had one question to ask him, I would say “Mr. President, our problems are hard enough to solve when we deal with the facts. I encourage you to be more consistent with telling the truth and not making it harder to solve our problems with misinformation.” That would make me feel better, but won’t have any impact. Keith

  3. I remember the story of that guy talking the KKK out of their robes. It’s so easy to be rude and disrespectful of people with opposing views online. I try hard not to do that, but I know sometimes I just reach the limit of tolerance and spout off. 😦

    • Linda, it is an art that more should practice. I have a relative who loves to debate with vigor, so it takes a great deal of effort to get him to focus on the issues and less on volume. I find myself raising my voice, which I hate to do. Online it is at least easier to review and re-review to add some diplomacy. Keith

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