So the other day I ran into one of my friends and in the middle of the conversation she said something interesting, about how sometimes you need to stop listening to the people giving you advice because they are giving you advice based on their perspective, not your own. Which made me think, it’s true. A lot of times, when we give well-intended advice, it’s based on our own experiences in life. How many times do we ask questions and get clarifications before tailor-making advice that suits the other person and not ourselves? How many times do we repeat something so much pretending to convince the other person when we are actually convincing ourselves?
Take for example people who discourage you while you pursue an exciting new idea, saying ‘things won’t work out’. Not everybody has your best interest at heart. Sometimes such advice is given out of pure jealousy, because such people never had the zeal to implement an idea they had, so they don’t want to see you try and – God forbid – succeed. But sometimes, the advice is given with good intentions. Maybe the person got disappointed by something and they don’t want you to go through that disappointment.
So the next time we want to give advice, we need to stop and reflect on whether what we are going to say is going to suit them or us. We need to give them advice with their best interests at heart not ours.
Alternatively, just state a liability disclaimer or stay quiet.
So this is a requested note. A friend of mine asked me to write about forgiveness. Is it better to forgive and forget, forgive but not forget, or neither forgive nor forget?
Now I’ve written on revenge and how I personally find the task energy-consuming and pointless since you could have invested that same energy on advancing your own life. Also, once you’re done with your revenge it doesn’t make you feel any better. But that post did not delve deep into the topic of forgiveness.
It is well known that forgiveness is the best way to go but it isn’t easy to do. In general I was born with an inclination towards holding a grudge. So my Modus Operandi (MO 1.0) was neither to forget nor to forgive. But then the more pain you harbor the more you realize you’re hurting only one person; yourself. The person who has hurt you might not even know what they did (or did not do) or they might know but not care. So basically I upgraded to MO 2.0 to forgive but not forget. The thing is it isn’t really easy especially when you feel someone has done you injustice and then moved on like they did nothing wrong. But as my friend is, if we forgive and not forget then we remember the incident and get hurt all over again so how does it even work? I told her, that’s true but it is really hard to wipe a memory from your existence especially if it is something that has been woven into the fabric of your psyche and basically shaped you. So MO 3.0 is to forgive, not forget the incident but remember the fact that you’ve forgiven them.
Also don’t delve in the bitterness. As I said yesterday, don’t get stuck in the past and ruminate over it. Put one step in front of the other and move on.
As much as I claim that MO 3.0 works, there are processes I personally put into place not to reach the stage of getting hurt in the first place. Some are as follows;
1) Don’t take the things that people do personally. It really is not about you as much as it is about them and their own perceptions
2) Try to see things from their point of view. Just because something is important to us doesn’t mean it’s important to them
3) Rise above the pettiness. This is something you would experience a lot if you try to pave a way of your own and you end up with so many criticizes and haters.
Also there is an interesting story I heard recently that could help. When I was watching one of the news segments on the westgate victims, the segment ended with this shell-shocked man who went to search for his father. In the end he found him but he was dead. The reporter asked, “What are your thoughts?”
He said something like, There’s nothing we can do about it. The only thing we can do is forgive them and leave it to God.
Basically our version of it is
وكلت أمري إلى الله
And I guess that’s all I can say about the topic. This is an unedited post I uploaded from my phone (in a wedding) so don’t mind any mistakes.
“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
Digging two graves is a metaphorical way to telling you that even if you were as alive as you used to be when you started on that journey, you are no longer the same person. Revenge consumes you and it fills your mind to hurting the people who hurt you but the sad truth is that once you’re at the end of the journey, revenge doesn’t always make you feel any better. If anything you might feel even worse, because you would feel like you’ve lost the innocent you somewhere along the way. And sometimes this path can be filled with so much destruction that you can’t help but let other innocent people pay the price for your so-called satisfaction. And then those secondary victims might start on their own journey of revenge against you so that the vicious cycle keeps on going on and on and on.
A better alternative is to actually induce guilt in whoever has hurt you by being extra kind to them. Or better still, to forgive and to move on with your life. Because with time you might realize that if you had spent half the effort to build your life instead of destroying the lives of others, then your life could be filled with so much beauty that it makes you forget whatever had passed before.
Let pain breed compassion and not more pain.