When someone close, tells you about your shortcomings or idiosyncrasies, that you never saw from their perspective, it can shake you up. It shakes you at the core and you are forced to start introspection. Am i really that bad or is it their anger against you that they are venting? I get confused sometimes when some close friend or a family member reveals something about me in a way that I never imagined it to be my motivation, but after some introspection I realize it is how they are seeing it. It may not be my intention to make them feel a certain way but it is my responsibility if they feel offended by my comment or certain behavior. Or is it ?
Let’s take a scenario – If I tell someone they are looking good and would have looked better if they had used a different color combination for their tie or a sweater. This can be seen in two ways, one is that I am their well wisher, complimenting them for their look and also suggesting something to look better. But at the same time, the receiver of this message may interpret it as they are not looking good in this combination and I outright criticized their dressing style. I can bet if you ask hundred people how they heard this statement, it will be a perfect divide between my way and the other way.
We all have our own outlook on everything and our outlook is based purely on our lifelong learning in the environment we grew up in and from our experiences. We have our biases and that is what we use to judge others. I feel the other person is wrong if they do not think or do things my way. Sometimes I accept the differences and move on. Sometimes if I look up to them, I accept whatever they do and accept almost everything.
So is there a right or wrong answer? I don’t know. But I feel self-awareness but more importantly, the awareness of the other person will give us better options to choose from for the right behavior. I have learned the hard way that the construct of my conversation and sentences should be in accordance with the sensitivity and tolerance level of the other person. We all know the people of varying sensitivity levels and tolerance levels from one end of the spectrum to the other. So we get into trouble or in these kinds of scenarios, when we say what we say without weighing it against the sensitivity of the receiver of our comments.
Lesson I am still trying to learn after 60+ years of learning is that we will never know the sensitivity of the people at any given moment. I may know someone’s general sensitivity and tolerance lever but what if they had something bad happen in their personal life and i am not aware of it, hence their sensitivity level at that moment may not be at their general sensitivity level. So I have learned to go with the assumption that no one, including me, is ready to accept any, perceived or real, contradictory or any thoughts with a possible connotation of negativity, so say what people would like to hear. Don’t give any personal advice, even if it is solicited, If they want to learn or improve themselves, they will have to write their own blog on introspection. 🙂