When you offer something to someone, and they don’t accept it, do you tend to feel bad? Or, have you ever accepted something from someone just because you felt obligated to, for the person might get offended or feel bad? As humans, we are so passionate about adding value to others’ lives, that sometimes we get quite ahead of ourselves and lose sight of one basic checkpoint.
When we genuinely give, i.e. without any agenda or ego, we won’t get upset if the other person refuses to accept. Neither will we force or insist too much. When we make a face, or feel bad, or get upset with others for not accepting what we have to offer, that’s when the giving has an added baggage of ‘Ego’ along with it.
It’s simple. We wanted to give, so we gave. We exercised our choice there, right? Just as well then, we should allow the other person equal liberty to choose whether they want to take it or not. Be it advice, food, medicine, clothes, charity or even help, for that matter. We can’t expect that others have to receive it because we choose to give. Or they have to appreciate it because we spent all our heart, soul and time creating it for them. People will take it if it fits in with what they are looking for in life at that given moment. We can’t punish, penalize or feel bad that they didn’t want what we had to offer. Can we respect their choice and decision?
If you really feel it is going to help them and they need it, then seek to understand kindly what’s stopping them from accepting what you are offering. Acknowledge that! Even if you don’t agree with their sentiment, acknowledge that they feel that way. Now, find friendly and respectful ways to influence them or inspire them, provided they are open for it. If they aren’t, it is best that you acknowledge their wish and let it be. Let them know should they ever need help, you are around. But never insist or persist. The more we persist, the more they feel like resisting. Well-meaning positive intentions go sour just because of too much force at times.
When we insist, people take our offering almost as if to do us a favour. And that’s never a good thing. The purpose gets defeated. They might not benefit. And God forbid, if it backfires for them, they will have you to blame for the rest of their lives. Never make it an obligation for someone to receive or accept what you want to offer. If I cook and tell someone I spent so much time and effort in cooking and hence the other person should eat, that’s not a gracious offering. That’s forcing food down someone’s throat. Who knows how well they can digest or appreciate it? What if their stomach gets upset because of it?
Or another example — If I think I know how to do a job better. If I spend a lot of time and effort to get others onboard to my way of doing it. And after all that, if they don’t follow, and I get upset that all my efforts are down the drain and no one is following, now this is just my ego trip. Instead, if I can drop my agenda to see what is it that they do, how they do, and if it works for them — I might learn a thing or two in the process. Or, if it doesn’t work too, I just do what I have to and what I can do in the best possible way. The only way I can lead is by being an example. If I can be a powerful, inspiring example, people will be willing to learn from me. People will willingly seek to learn. If they still don’t, perhaps it isn’t in their priority for now. Something else that’s important for them, might be unimportant for me. Understand if the other person needs it, wants it, and is in a mood for it. Only then will the entire giving and receiving transaction be valuable. Fear, force, emotional blackmail, anger, or ego aren’t great ways and reasons to either give or receive. That’s how valuable things lose their value.
(P.S – In case of SOPs, or certain important processes, those we can insist because that’s not something we are giving or receiving. That’s a different kind of transaction).