Conversations with self Society

Am I disempowering my friends?

vector illustration of angry businessman threatening small man

vector illustration of angry businessman threatening small man  

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You do not have to shrink another to feel superior, learnt the writer

My mother’s spiritual guru visited her a few days ago as she was recuperating from recently suffered ill health. While conversing with him, he offered me insight into possible behaviours and actions many people resort to, either to establish their assumed superior position in a relationship or to gain sympathy and approval from those whom we seek it from.

Both these attempts, he said, often were established through discounting people or presenting them in poor light.

Reflecting on how what he said affected me, I recalled a recent occurrence when a favour I sought from a friend, privately, was made public by that person, in the midst of a social gathering. The incident revolved around my having asked the gentleman for an introduction to a potential customer, and when his effort bore fruit, he made it a point to tell everyone at the social gathering that he had helped me.

While I did not deny his help, revealing it in public made me feel small and indebted. The sense of gratitude that I had genuinely felt and personally acknowledged to the gentleman was replaced by an upset and sad feeling.

In another occurrence, just to gain the approval of a significant person, I subtly discounted another close friend, knowing full well that the significant person disliked the person I discounted, and in so doing gained appreciation from the gentleman in question.

Both instances, I realise, are attempts to establish, perhaps, ‘superiority’, yet both the acts are done by shrinking the other.

Marianne Williamson, the author of the book A Return to Love, says ‘You do not have to shrink another to feel superior.’ I hope the lessons I am sharing, I am able to internalise, lest they remain a cognitive appreciation without emotional acceptance.

The writer is an organisational and behavioural consultant. He can be contacted at ttsrinath@gmail.com.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:46:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/conversations-with-self-are-you-disempowering-others-to-feel-superior/article29878470.ece

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