1-Sentence-Summary: Tell Me More will help you make everything, even the worst of times, go more smoothly by learning about a few useful phrases to habitually use come rain or shine.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
“All you need is love,” right? While it’s a nice idea, the truth is that relationships are messy. We yell, fight, and hurt one another almost daily. Sharing love and life with someone isn’t always as easy as “I love you” or “I do.” There’s a lot more to it than that.
Loving others requires that we learn how to apologize. At other times we have to put our foot down and make sure that our needs are met. Often, it requires that we’re just there to listen and show that we care.
These words we can learn to say that make relationships better is the focus of Kelly Corrigan’s Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say. She’ll help you see how phrases like “no” and life is “just like this” are like grease that make everything in family life work smoothly.
Here are the 3 simplest ways this book teaches us to make life better:
- Listening is most often the greater problem solving tool than giving advice.
- The word “no” is a vital component of all relationships, and anyone who says it deserves respect.
- Being “good enough” is all you need to succeed in life.
Get ready for your relationships to have a complete makeover for the better! Let’s begin!
Lesson 1: Always put listening before volunteering advice when somebody you love is going through something tough.
Have you ever put together a puzzle? It’s hard knowing where everything goes until you get to the end. That is, unless you can’t find the last piece! Then it gets frustrating really quickly. In a similar way, it’s hard to see the people we care about suffer when we know what “missing piece” will fix their problems.
This is what Kelly’s friend Tracy says that trying to listen to children is like. We hate to see our children in pain, so we want to solve every problem by giving them that missing piece. But that’s not what our kids need. Their progression requires that they learn to figure some things out on their own. And the best thing we can do to help them with that is to listen.
As Kelly and Tracy were discussing this on a long car ride once, Kelly’s daughter Georgia called in tears. Although Kelly initially thought Georgia must have done something wrong, Tracy’s nudges helped Kelly to listen instead of being hard on Georgia.
It turned out that Georgia did just want someone to listen and affirm her feelings. With the guidance of Tracy, Kelly was able to help her daughter calm down by the end of the call.
Usually when something goes wrong, people know what they need to do. It’s not the advice that helps them. What most people need to get through it is someone to empathetically feel with them.
Lesson 2: Respect people’s wishes when they say “no,” it just may save your relationship.
Do you remember the last time you told someone that you wouldn’t do something they wanted you to do? Saying no is easy when we’re children. But as we grow, somewhere along the way we learn to associate it with being selfish, mean, or lazy. That’s really disappointing, because for healthy relationships, saying no is vital.
Kelly had a life-long goal of having four kids before she was 40. But when she got cancer, that threw everything in her life upside down. First, chemotherapy stopped her fertility. But to make matters worse, she then learned of a growth on her ovaries that required her to get them taken out. She was devastated.
After dealing with the initial blow, Kelly found strength in considering alternatives to having more children. There was adoption or egg and embryo donors. All seemed right again until she shared all of this with her husband, Edward.
In a crushing blow to Kelly, he explained that he was happy. In his world, he finally had a healthy wife. Their kids were happy and his career was flourishing. Edward just couldn’t battle any longer as he had for so long.
Although hurt, Kelly didn’t push her husband further. That’s because she now knew the extent of what her cancer had done to her husband. She began to realize that the best way forward was together, even if that meant she had to forgo her dreams. Sometimes, allowing someone we care about say no is just what the relationship needs to stay strong.
Lesson 3: Having a great life doesn’t mean perfection, “good enough” is all it takes.
Growing up a perfectionist, I always had a hard time ever believing I was good enough. That was the case until recently, when I began focusing on my strengths. Learning about what I’m good at and working on that makes me realize that I’m not so bad after all.
I’m learning now that even though I make mistakes all the time, it doesn’t mean my life is falling apart. Sometimes, just getting through the day with a feeling that it was “good enough” is enough.
Kelly felt like a late bloomer knowing she just got her life figured out in her 30s. Prior to meeting Edward and starting her family, she felt lost. Without a purpose, she drifted from one dead end job to another. And all this while her friends began families of their own.
It was tough, but her Dad was there to help. He always believed in her, even when she didn’t. Kelly often heard him tell her that she’d get it all worked out someday, and he was right.
After all that time Kelly finally got to ask her Dad how he knew all those years that she would make it. He responded by telling her that people don’t need to be perfect every day. Just a few victories here and there is enough to know that you’ll get there eventually.
Tell Me More Review
Tell Me More is a great book because it’s so down to earth about life. I enjoyed the examples from Corrigan’s life, but it felt like it was hard to really grasp them through the Blinkist summary. One thing’s for sure, knowing these phrases and using them regularly will make your life easier and better.
Who would I recommend the Tell Me More summary to?
The 45-year-old parent whose children are just hitting puberty that feels at the end of her rope, the 26-year-old couple with a newborn baby who has no idea what they’re doing, and anyone who is philosophically minded.