I invited a family to dinner at our place. The lady of the family brought home made cake for dessert. But I forgot to serve the same and ended up serving a readymade sweet. And when they left I realised (actually was made to realise 😁) what a blunder I had committed. I should have served the cake too, its courtesy and etiquette. And then I was on my guilt trip. I texted her to seek forgiveness. Though she said she didn’t mind it at all, asked me to relax and chill, it’s been a long time now since we spoke to each other 😁 (she is busy with her examinations). What I did at the dinner was completely unintentional; being forgetful was my weakness rather than my mistake. But I pleaded.
And this isn’t the first time when I said ‘Sorry’ for something so trivial. I talk to my friends, relatives and out of no where after I finish my conversations I have a demon visiting me “Guilt” that makes me think, rethink – “did I utter something wrong to offend the person?”, “let’s say sorry before it’s too late” and I don’t relent from saying sorry. In fact I say ‘Sorry’ way too much. I fear grudges and misunderstandings, hence I say sorry. So much so that I could possibly paint myself as nervous, weak or simply stupid. If you have to choose a nickname for me “The Sorry Girl” would do just fine🤣🤣.
Too much of guilt or say “false” guilt for every non existing/ illogical/ trivial issue could be as dangerous as self medicating after surfing on Google for few apparent symptoms and assuming that you are suffering from a dreadful illness. Doctors are there for a reason, right? Don’t assume, for it could lead to side effects more effectively than yielding positive results. “Feeling Sorry” syndrome as I call it is something same as self medicating. When you assume things and go on a guilt trip more often than not, you self deplete yourself. Extreme self consciousness so as to not to hurt anyone makes you go into a shell which equals to lower self esteem and confidence. I have myself experienced the dilemma very often “shall I ask? Shall I say? Shall I tell?”. Because I don’t want anyone to feel bad and me either as a consequence to my actions and words. And this is where I hesitate to say NO (my false guilt of hurting someone being my constant companion). But now I am slowly realising it isn’t worth it, at least not every situation requires irrelevant deep introspection that shows me as a insensitive human, oblivious to others feelings.
I am not against minding words and actions in advance for it reflects an educated mind. And to be conscious about how others may feel reflects your sensible side. But the question is how much is enough and what is unwanted. Feelings like Regret, Guilt are as precious as Love and Care to be squandered away on unimportant things. For instance: You got stuck in traffic irrespective of starting really early so you say sorry and move on. This is how it should be. But if you start analysing what the other person might think of you, how much business loss he might have incurred just because of your delay and start off meekly to please unnecessarily, this is something awkward and uncalled for. This hampers your personality, your image. And this is called false guilt. Your false guilt will let others take advantage of you, period.
Talk and move on! You feel you have done something wrong, talk about it to the concerned person, settle the matter there. Don’t let it linger on your mind for long. If the other person understands your explanation no worries. But if the other person is indifferent, it isn’t your fault, mind you. Remember you can’t please everyone. Then why burden your heart with “I don’t deserve them” tag. Why can’t it be the other way round?
- Be cordial but not overtly submissive. There’s a huge difference.
- Don’t nurse ego
- Don’t be shy to say sorry when you feel you need to, you want to
- Relationships are important but if you can’t value yourself relationships can’t be sane and equal.
- Watch out words and actions before they are beyond your control.
You heard what I did not say,
But, you didn’t hear what I said.
You read what I did not write,
But, you didn’t read the message reflected in my eyes.
You thought your heart was close to mine,
But, you didn’t feel its beats as did I.
So easy it is for you to say what you say,
To do what you do and think what you think.
Without a care for my feelings,
Without considering all fervent appealing.
Put yourself, in my place, will you?
The truth will you see then, just as I do.
To hoist one’s voice obdurately,
Makes another’s eyes moist.
A failure to understand,
Leaves relationships bland.
Misunderstandings rob your peace and mine,
How can we then for God’s glory shine?
When I was given this topic to write about, I just let my thoughts wander around to find out which incident is right to put up here.
Yes, I had numerous instances in life, where I was misunderstood, but yes, Time is a real healer, which showed up, the real me to all.
There was a past me- a totally immature one, who got upset about being misunderstood most of the times, other than weeping, there was no other go. At times I even recollect bursting out too. There was not much support as all the fingers pointed out to me.
Seems the friction of all these blame and misunderstanding, I became more like a polished one outshining all the blame games. I am still on the learning path of ignoring these delusions that are happening to me.
If you are silent, you create a false impression that you are rude, polite and even showing attitude.
If you are talkative, then you are confounded as a flirt and an outgoing person.
If you are aloof, then you are misunderstood as a loner, heartbroken, useless and hard-hearted.
If we are polite, then you are flirting.
People judge my writings at times, There was an instance at which an anonymous person, began posting outrageous comments on my blogs, which was not only insulting me but others who were commenting on my posts. I was shocked for a while by the person’s mere indignity.
It disturbed me for a while :
I write, as it is my passion and my writing may or may not reflect my life. Yet judging my character on that basis was totally an irrelevant act. At first, I decided to post replies to the comments stating my anger.
Yet, the mature (i consider myself at times) me was holding me back. I decided to ignore.
I began my writing to liberate my thoughts about life. But misunderstanding me for the thoughts I pour in my writing was totally an insult to me.
I do know misunderstandings happen, yet at times the mind is uncontrollable to suffer the pain. I understood that giving time, is rather the right approach to tackle it.
I believe – that explaining is at times worthless.
A misunderstood mind, is unable to interpret, what the others want to convey. It will be like talking to a person with a loud drum played in the background.
A disturbed mind is never the right time and place to converse.
It is true that :
Yet, At times it is hard to convince them.
I firmly believe,
Hence, never struggle to convince you are right- Time will show who is right and who is wrong. Maybe for a split second of time, the other person might be right, as he misunderstands us, with his/ her own perspective of thoughts. Struggling ourselves to convince the other when there is a cloud of confusion, is a wasted effort.
To conclude :
To misunderstand and to be misunderstood are two sticky roadblocks to stumble upon. And as the age old saying goes – ‘A stitch in time saves nine’, small misunderstandings resolved early and duly prevent major conflicts. No one can claim to be immune from misunderstandings, no matter how well you manage the relationships around you.
A beautiful relationship does not merely depend on how well we understand someone; but, it also depends on how well we avoid/handle misunderstandings.
Let me share a misunderstanding of which I was a victim just a month back.
It was World Mental Health Day (October 10). The theme for this year was – Mental Health at the Workplace. As a Counsellor and Psychology teacher, I had trained some of the senior students to make the day special for all the teaching and non-teaching staff at school. One of their tasks was to meet each staff personally, greet him/her and pin a badge onto them. The badges were beautifully designed and had lines of encouragement and appreciation printed on them. It was a big task for the students and took them a whole day to cover all the staff. Meanwhile, they were being appreciated for their gesture. So far so good.
Almost towards the end, they went to the Music Department. There they pinned the badge onto one teacher and left out the other teacher thinking that they had already given her in the morning as they had seen her in the corridor. That was an open invitation for disaster!! Though I had not accompanied the students all through the school, I was standing outside the Music Department just at that time!
The teacher who was left out, felt humiliated and burst out accusing me of being partial. She wouldn’t understand when I tried explaining that there was absolutely no question of any partiality at all, but just a mistaken assumption on the part of the students. It was quite a scene! She refused to accept a badge which I personally offered her. I felt very bad as the intention was to make the staff feel good and special, but it made somebody upset instead. Also, I felt her reaction to be a bit childish as she is a very senior faculty and has always been a motherly figure towards many.
I went back to her after ten minutes and found her in tears narrating the whole episode to another staff. I gave her a hug and apologised for the whole incident, all the while reiterating that it was just a mistaken assumption of the students and no further meaning ought be attached to it. What she told me in response, made me see sense to her reaction. She said that her husband has been struggling with depression for years now. As a result she and her children have had a very tough life (I didn’t know this at all as she is always jolly and offers a word of encouragement to all around). On knowing that a day has been designated to recognize mental health, she felt very happy and was eagerly waiting all through the day for the students to come up to her with the token. So on being ignored and that too in the presence of another staff who was being given the badge, she felt shattered within.
Though it helped put the pieces together, I felt really bad to know the reason behind her reaction. I, once again apologized gave her a hug and offered a badge. This time she accepted it and said that she held nothing against me….it was just an outburst of long suppressed emotions. And she has been normal with me, as before from that time onwards.
I don’t get into misunderstandings often. But, do bump into some such episodes at times. No amount of caution can ever guarantee anybody that misunderstandings will never happen.
So then, what causes misunderstandings?
- Expectations and lack of fulfillment of them
- Prejudices and stereotypes
- Lack of complete understanding on an issue
- Rigidity and lack of flexibility to yield
- Self-centered (I, me, my) attitude
- Emotional baggage
- Denial of a root cause
- Displacement of response from one person/situation to another
- Being influenced by others
- Impulsive and thoughtless reactions
The above list is not exhaustive and I’m sure if we think carefully about each of these points, we will find enough incidents of our own to relate to.
Is there a way out?
Well, as I have mentioned before, no one can claim immunity from misunderstandings. Even if you are the most self-controlled, tolerant and peaceable person around, someone or the other, some incident or the other is bound to provoke you sooner or later.
One of the best way out is negotiation according to the merit of the case. Forgiving and seeking forgiveness helps iron out differences. There are enough instances where people not agreeing on major issues have continued to live peacably with each other. So, its not altogether undoable. But yes, settling misunderstandings requires the cooperation of both the parties involved. In the absence of cooperation from either of the parties, misunderstandings tend to persist and even blow out of proportion thus causing great damages.
Resolve to be understanding. Take care to negotiate. Don’t hold things against others for long. Above all, pray for the difficult people in your life. Its only God who can transform the hearts of men!