Most of us believe that when we have been wronged, the other person has to ask for forgiveness, or come back with an explanation, and only then can we forgive or resume talking to them. It seems commonsensical. What if that’s not the only way? What if there’s a more influential way of being that gives you peace? No! I am not asking you to forgive the other person! I am not saying forgiveness is divine. There’s something more than that which nips the problem in its bud.
I recently figured this is the recipe for some people to maintain their peace and rapport, and influence others better.
Let’s take an example – you were supposed to meet a friend. You both had decided but then last minute you don’t hear from your friend.
Another time again, your friend calls and says he/she really wants to meet you and fixes a time to come to your place and meet. You wait on that given day but neither do they show up, nor text, nor call.
After this, what are you most likely to do?
Either call them and ask what happened.
Or, maintain silence till they come back and apologise.
Or, stop talking to them for a while until they get back.
And at this point, quite a few relationships get too fragile to continue (If you imagine bigger situations in life). The other person sometimes never gets back because they feel you may be too angry to want to talk to them. So, they assume punishment for their own-selves and become distant and awkward because of their own guilt for having disappointed you. And we’ll never know that because we never communicated further with them too.
The ones who trust themselves and love themselves, do two things differently:
- They hold the remote for their television sets in their own hands. Which means, they don’t let others’ actions determine their feelings. They observe that the friend didn’t turn up. But rather than judging them as people who don’t keep their word, or don’t mean what they say, they do something else. They understand that there’s more to this situation than them and their feelings. They seek to understand. They genuinely find out if everything is okay. They don’t let this affect their rapport. They continue to be their usual self and do what they would do, had this incident not happened. No! They are not super-human. They are just people who understand that humans are driven by reasons beyond their conscious understanding at times.
- They pay more attention to the fact that their friend had expressed interest to meet them multiple times by themselves and hence reach out to them to see if they are doing okay.
People are being what they are being, beyond your understanding AND also much beyond their own conscious understanding. No one wakes up thinking, ‘I will not live up to my word today.’ Everyone wakes up wanting to be the best. But somewhere, their unconscious habits and patterns take over. If we give up, they’ll have no incentive to change. If we remain neutral, we are giving them an incentive to live-up. I am not saying put yourself in jeopardy. Safeguard your interest in whichever way you can – and remain neutral to this person, if you wish to have a positive influence on them.
Your capacity to influence is directly proportionate to your ability to maintain rapport. If you can’t maintain rapport, you can’t quite influence too. It is easy to have faith in people when they keep up their word. But it is important to have faith even when they don’t. If you can continue being your usual self, without letting their past behaviours impact your present behaviours, you will give them a compelling reason to change. Think for yourself – there are some people in your life for whom you’d be ready to do anything even before they ask. You’d go all out for some. Who are they? And what is it about them that makes you so, with them? For the most part, it is for the people who believe in you, that you are ready to, and willingly exceed your regular average self and run the extra mile. Not for people who don’t.
When you judge, you lose the capacity to influence your own-self to be neutral. Let alone the other person. And once you build a strong impression about someone, they also tend to live up to it, for the better or for worse – unconsciously!
Whenever we get disappointed by someone, it is not about them, but about ourselves and our expectations.
But, how far does it go? You don’t want to be on the receiving end forever! So,
- Be upfront with them and ask them if they can are certain of it, else to let you know, so that you don’t pursue them. And tell them, that it’s perfectly okay even if they can’t. If they know that you won’t get upset, they might be more upfront. Most people prefer silence to confrontation. So, they know that there isn’t going to be any need for confrontation, explanation, or justification, they might find it easier to be upfront with you. This means it is important for you to maintain your emotional state. Fear of upsetting you makes people who love you, lie to you, or keep away from you sometimes.
- Don’t complain or whine. Be an adult about it and say you wanted to double-confirm.
- If it goes beyond a point, then you can respectfully back-off – giving them their space.
Nothing has to be done all the time, with everyone, in all situations. But keep the above in mind in places where you want to maintain rapport and have the ability to influence. This would be helpful there and anyplace else where you tend to get too upset or disappointed by people.
The question of forgiveness doesn’t arise when we are ready to understand. An apology is important if the ego is important. An apology is important if your judgment is all there is to reality. If peace is important, we don’t judge. We observe. We learn. We take necessary action, but without getting too affected by it.
Don’t give others the power to determine what you feel. Give yourself the power to influence others in what they are!