Friday, April 3, 2020

You May Be Right (Even If You Think You’re Wrong)

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Have you ever said something only to soon regret it?

Sure, you have. We all have.

But in this case, I’m not referring to anything mean, embarrassing, or foolish as you’re probably thinking.

I’m instead referring to the times when we say something intending to help someone, at their request, only to part ways and think that we should have said something different. As if, although we’d meant well, what we’d said seems more or less half-baked and may have left the person dissatisfied.

What I’d like you to consider is that what you’d said may have been just fine, even if you think otherwise.

It’s about What’s Needed, Not What’s Wanted.

One time someone asked me if I knew anything about a certain powder-form, high-nutrient dietary supplement.

From what I recall, I told the person that I’d never heard of it, that a lot of such products may have some nutritional benefits but are usually marketing gimmicks, and then I recommended that he make sure to eat plenty of whole, nutrient-dense foods.

Later on I looked up the product info. Being that the questioner had diet-related health problems and the product might have been a help to him, I got thinking that maybe I should contact the guy and tell him that he might find it useful to give the supplement a try.

At first I’d felt kind of guilty as though I’d given a lousy answer, like I should have thought more deeply about the question and then responded differently.

I later came to realize, however, that, even though I’d initially felt as though I’d sort of screwed up, I hadn’t actually screwed up at all.

The thing is, knowing what the person’s diet was like, without realizing what I was doing, I told him exactly what he needed to hear at that time.

Yes, true, maybe the supplement he’d asked about could have been of benefit to him. But supplementation was really beside the point because what was vastly more important in his particular circumstance was that he begin focusing on eating plenty of whole foods.

You Can’t Hear What Others Are Saying When You’re Too Busy Thinking about What You Wish They Were Saying but Aren’t.

This next instance is similar but different. Although I wasn’t directly asked for help, help certainly could have been a natural consequence. What positive came out of this, I really can’t say.

One time I was talking with a few somewhat older women and telling them, at their inquiry, about dietary changes I’d recently made.

I said something to the effect that I’d been eating lots of whole foods and had taken all processed and sugary foods out of my diet.

I said that I’d begun noticing how my body has improved and changed in ways I’d never seen before—as though my body had always wanted to do certain things but wasn’t able to because I’d always somewhat undereaten as well as had eaten a lot of junk food. Specifically, I’d mentioned that changing to a healthier diet caused more hair to grow on my body.

As you can probably imagine, this didn’t go over very well. Telling an older woman, or perhaps any woman, that eating a wholesome diet can potentially cause them to grow more hair is not the best marketing tactic for healthy eating (unless they have hair-loss problems, of course).

After my conversation, I hadn’t mulled this one over as I had the instance regarding the powder supplement, but I did think that maybe I should’ve used a different example.

I came to realize, however, that how any of those people chose to interpret my words is not my business. Indirectly, I could have been interpreted as saying, Eat real food because it’s the only food that works to make you and keep you healthy, that allows your body to function according to the ideal template of “you” stored in your DNA.

If someone chooses to shallowly interpret my words through distorted lenses of fear or self-depreciation or the like, such is not my problem in instances like these.

I did my job: I answered the question in an informed, honest, friendly manner.

I said what people needed to hear—but if people actually heard what I said is up to them.

Our Job's Reach Is No Further than Halfway.

I share this with you because I want you to know that even though we sometimes think we’d said or done the “wrong” thing, that maybe we shouldn’t have been so spontaneous or impulsive, there are definitely cases where this is not so.

If we’d look deeper into why any others who we’re involved with might have needed the exact experience we’d shared with them, we might find that we’d actually said or done the right thing—or, at least, a better thing than if we had spent more time to think before speaking or acting.

All the while, it’s important that we lean toward judging these situations based on what we provide, rather than judging solely in terms of the reactions others have to us.

While it is always possible that we could have either flubbed or said or done better, the fact is that people react based on their conditioning 99.938% of the time; meaning, unless we’d have told them exactly what they’d wanted to hear—something they may not even know—it could be that all reactions would be less-than-positive.

It’s our job to respond reasonably to others' questions, needs, etc. in any given situation and to continue conversing/interacting with others in such a way, but it’s usually not in our place, unless requested, to tell others how they should react to or think about our responses to them; it’s not our job to fight to make sure that we’re understood by others in the same way we understand ourselves.

How others react and think is based on their conditioning (beliefs, fears, education, and so on), and this is not something that any of us can forcefully change.

Even the wisest human changes no one, for it is only the individual, by self-willingness, that can change his- or herself.

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