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Recently, I shared my personal story in a WhatsApp group which offended my close friend. It was taken out of context and something that I could have avoided.
He took a screenshot of my message, highlighted the particular statement, and said he wanted to discuss it. He assumed I was referring to him. I was shaken because he is very close to me and his feelings matter a lot.
I always try to avoid conflicts and hatred in my writing. My tendency is to spread positivity through my blog. Despite my best efforts, I somehow managed to spark a rift between us.
A few years ago, my immediate response would have been to take a defensive stand. I’d have promptly collected all the facts to support my argument, called him up, and started quarreling.
But this time, something strange happened. I did a total 180-degree flip and reacted contrarily. It was that aha moment when all the lessons I’ve learned from the books immediately started bearing fruit. Amidst all the tension, I was relaxed.
It is rightly said that in life, what we see as bad at one point can be the best thing to happen to us. So, how did I handle this situation with my newfound clarity?
1. I showed empathy
Most books that I read talk about perspective in one way or another. We all have opinions with which come the differences. There’s very rarely an absolute truth. As I had been reading a lot on this subject, I began thinking from my friend’s point of view.
I started questioning myself, “If I were in his position, would I have reacted the same way? What made him think that I was only talking about him? Could I have avoided this?”
This is called a paradigm shift. We don’t see people as they are; we see them as we are. A paradigm is a thought pattern; we have all been conditioned by our family, friends, and society to think in a certain way.
We create mental movies in our minds and expect people to react as per our self-made rules. But, through books, I understood the concept of a paradigm shift – a change in our way of thinking. When we make that shift and see things in a totally different manner, we feel liberated.
My first success was to put aside our confrontation and focus on the underlying cause of the problem.
2. I learned how to say sorry
Apologizing was never my cup of tea and I used to find all the reasons not to say sorry by justifying my acts. I would apologize either if I have done a mistake that I am sorry for, or if I value the relationship more than the problem itself.
However, apologizing is an art. If done well with sincerity, it will save time, effort, and in turn, relationships. So, when I decided to value my friendship more than our problem, I calmly started apologizing.
He was burning from inside, hurling words at me. Surprisingly, they didn’t hurt. As I accepted the fact that he was angry and any man in his situation would do the same, I remained very cool and collected.
To my delight, after initial anger and high temper, he softened up. His attitude changed when he sensed honesty in my words. He left me with these words, “I hope you understand now. My intention wasn’t to hurt you. I am sorry.”
Everyone, no matter how tough they look, have deep feelings within them. When we tap that with our compassion, we end up with a win-win.
3. I learned how to stop worrying
It was a blessing in disguise that when this incident happened, I was reading Dale Carnegie’s How to stop worrying and start living. This picture explains everything about worries –
Many situations in life are out of control. We cannot change our past or predict our future. All we have is the present. The best we can do is give our honest efforts and stop worrying.
Dale Carnegie, in his book, prescribes various ways to manage stress.
Firstly, assume that the worst has already happened. Think of the consequences, and then start working towards fixing it. In this situation, my friend would stop talking to me, I’d lose his friendship. So, I accepted that fact.
By admitting the worst possible result, I started thinking that anything I do from here would be for the better. There was nothing to lose. Hence, I apologized without reasoning.
Secondly, after doing damage control and knowing that you cannot do anything more, just move on.
“Blessed is the man who is too busy to worry at the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.”
Taking his advice, right after I finished talking to him, Kavi & I went out for a jog. We did not discuss the problem. Instead, we went to our friend’s house and had a great evening.
It’d have not been possible if we hadn’t stayed busy. Our brooding over the topic would not have solved anything either. We simply had to give it time to settle.
This way, I managed to take control of the situation and amicably resolve it, so we didn’t lose a friend in each other. Every book, person, and situation brings with it a valuable lesson. If we can grab the opportunity and learn from it, the benefits are enormous.
We hope you liked this post. What is your ONE takeaway?
– Kavi & Ninja