What did I do to deserve this response?
Very often, we dislike or get offended by someone’s behaviour towards us. Their responses seem unwarranted and we find ourselves compelled either, to simply swallow this show of crassness or to respond with a greater level of rudeness. We put the other person in his or her place.
Putting people in their place can be very satisfying. But both swallowing, and putting in place, leaves us fretful, heckled and over excited in some way.
Neither of these options leaves us in a state of well-being.
Well-being is that sense of being at peace with yourself and with everything around you; that state when your inner good naturedness surfaces in your personality spontaneously, and there is no need for pretense or ‘forcing’ it out.
Most people mean this when they say “My friends are my family”. They are at peace with themselves in a certain group of people, and find that they are not so in a different group
The problem however is not with the group of people.
Working with families and relationships I’ve learnt that there is a third way, different from swallowing and putting-into-place, that we can choose when our near and dear ones have these ill-mannered outbursts.
People tend to operate from their hurts. It needs skill and willingness for each of us to deal with, and heal our wounds. Too many of us tend to simply hide our hurts and leave them to fester in our inner beings.
When people are wounded in their inner being and hurting, you tend to get obnoxious, rude, unpleasant, harsh responses from them. You are neither the target, nor the cause. They are simply trampling on thorns inside themselves.
Imagine blind people touching each other. As long as a person is healthy and whole, these touches evoke no negative response. Yet, if a physical wound were to be touched, it would result in a loud “Ouch!” and perhaps even a slap!
In this same way, in reality, we are most often blind to the condition of another person’s inner being.
Words, ideas, and thoughts, communicated in tones, volumes (loudness/softness) and punctuations, touch our inner person. The already hurting person is further hurt by our innocent words and responds with the “Ouch!” of rudeness, harshness, or unpleasantness.
Our communication would have been fine had the person been healthy.
Now, if we too are hurt, their harshness will evoke further pain within us, and we will respond with a louder “Ouch!” of our own bitterness.
This cycle goes on and when matters reach a minor crisis level, the only option most people grab is the blame-game - how the other person is responsible for the mess they both find themselves in.
There are no ointments and pills, bandages and casts to apply on our inner beings. There is no mindless, minimal effort way of being healthy in our inner being.
These three “A’s” will change you dramatically:
Acknowledge, Appreciate, Apologise. These produce well-being.
Apologies, seeking and offering forgiveness, physical hugging and embracing, making the way decisions are made transparent and open, clarifying expectations without fear or favour; these are the ways of healing.
Criticising. Castigating. Complaining.
These three “C’s” can produce a sense of self-satisfaction, but only in a way that leaves us wondering what’s happening to happiness!
The three C’s need no effort. They come naturally like dirt, disease and death.
The three A’s need a lot of effort. Often this effort seems unnatural to us and so we balk at it. Yet what learning, or expertise, has come without doing what was unnatural at first to us?
Professionalism is the art of making what is unnatural to us, natural.
Never hesitate to apologise.
It’s not weak. You will not lose your power. You will not lose your status. In fact you will only grow in your own self-esteem and in others’. Acknowledging your faults is strength.
When you can – hug. Nothing builds trust, the antiseptic of all inner wounds, better.
We all have problems. When we hurt inside we tend to multiply the problems others are having instead of reducing them.
The most professional thing you can do today, is to heal yourself.
What did I do to deserve this response?