When people ‘wrong’ us and are ‘unfair’:
Our first impulse is to let them know that they are wrong, to give them a ‘piece of our mind’. We now have to show them that they are ‘wrong’ and they simply need to realize that. Why? Because we think that’s the only way our anger at all that unjustness can cool down.
But what have we done? That person will most probably jump to the defensive, will consider us emotionally weak, or might just keep it in his mind that we made him ‘wrong’. Because we tried to take them on a guilt trip, now they might avoid us more or worse might jump at proving us ‘wrong’ at the slightest chance or hurt us more. Now our personal or professional relationship is strained and can potentially crop up difficulties for us. ‘Well, that’s fine, I can bear with that’ , some can retort in a fit of self-righteous indignation.
We want to control their behaviour and do not realize that neither are we equipped to do that, nor is it a wise thing to do. We only can try to influence people’s behaviour. We might forget in the heat of the moment that what is in our control is not other’s behavior but ours alone.
Forget divorces, break-ups and tension in families, even in professional lives, this tends to cause a lot of strife and unnecessary stress to oneself and others. In many a professional circumstance, this has taken away the focus from what needs to be achieved. Instead it simply caused a diffusion of time and energy in unnecessary arguments directed at proving oneself ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’.
So does it mean that we simply bear with all the unfairness and not stop it? Does it mean that we simply start behaving like saints and show our other cheek when somebody hits us on one? Do we stop at forgiving them and generating loving kindness to them? How will that ever improve the situation at all?
Let us consider some alternatives then and evaluate them:
- Express after forgiving: We can definitely express how we feel: angry, upset, irritated etc. We can do this AFTER we actually generate some forgiveness to them and wish that now we take action for the benefit of all. We can use the Ho’oponopono healing formula: WE take responsibility for the whole situation even if that be on a mysterious level and say ‘I am sorry, Forgive me, Thank you, I love you’ to the situation. Why? Because this simply clears our mind and gives some space for our minds to keep focus on the objective of a situation, rather than who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
- Assert your boundaries: We can assert our boundaries and tell them that their behaviour is not acceptable to us. This can be done in many ways.
- Avoid blaming and insisting on them to ‘accept their mistakes’, instead give positive redirection: Instead of saying, ‘you are so selfish’..we will make a positively re-directed statement that communicates our expectations from them in a way that can actually influence them. ‘I have respect for you and I have sensed you to be someone who believes in working co-operatively. However due to this behaviour, I feel hurt and its not acceptable for me. I am sure you will consider this next time’. By telling something like this( i am sure you can come up with something much better.. 🙂 ), we not only give them space to actually reflect on their behaviour but also affirm that they are capable of a better behaviour, without directly telling them so.
If you think a person an idiot, he will come up to your expectation, if you think of him as smart, he will come up to your expectation. Our expectations are generally met…whether that is negative or positive… which do you choose?
- Give them a consequence. ‘If I am hurt again, I am sorry I will have to distance myself from you or might have to stop helping you or extending co-operation to you’… etc. Generally, a consequence which is related to you not being hurt again. You will have to choose this intelligently. This is not blackmail, remember, its simply telling them that their behavior will have a consequence. We are taking responsibility for our own emotional well-being, communicating our boundaries and protecting it.
Now we have exercised assertiveness without being aggressive. We have given space and more chances for the person to actually consider and reflect on his behavior.
If we had jumped to blame him and show him ‘wrong’ , then in all probability, this person would have immediately jumped to defend and worse re-direct the blame on us. That way, he may never for a moment reflect on his behavior or try to correct himself. That way, we have unwisely multiplied our hurt and stress to ourselves, instead of lessening it. But take a different path, we have not only improved the chances of enabling our own emotional well-being, but also given space to the other person to think and correct.
We need to catch ourself ‘blaming’, ‘being right’ or showing others wrong. This is something that we all do. We are all used to this impulse from our childhood. Now that we know its not very useful, work out alternate ways of enabling a more intelligent outcome. Journal your little victories, develop your alternate habits which can not only result in your emotional well-being but also help you achieve personal and professional goals in a way that will showcase your competencies much better.
I still catch myself doing this, but whenever I was able to apply the above points, I have seen better outcomes. I have been able to strengthen relationships, that I thought were almost finished. More than everything, it gave me peace and confidence.
Did it make a positive difference to the situation and to yourself when you tried something like this? What else did you try, which made a difference in such situations?
What to do when I am right and they are so wrong?