A short while ago I wrote about some lessons my job has taught me, lessons learned especially in the wee hours of the shift. Interestingly, I forgot one of the more important. It stands in relation to what the great Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan was said to have answered in the 1970s to a question that ran more or less like this: “What, in a sentence, should we Europeans learn?” And Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan was said to have answered: “Don’t criticize.”
On the job one enters many difficult situations. They often are so demanding that we lose our composure and then the ugly meets the ugly. Emotions run wild very quickly, bitterness, rage, cynicism erupt and can be spitten into each other’s face. Mostly there is no time for a reconciliation. But often afterwards there are moments when both can breath deeply and try to come around. Then it’s time for some apology.
Often when we think we weren’t wrong, we withhold this apology nonetheless. But even if you think that you are right and the other is wrong, then at least state that you would like to apologize for the mistake in tone. That’s the least. And it’s necessary, because yelling, screaming, etc. hurt and cause great damage. One has no right to violence — even verbal violence.
With this comes an other point. If we have problems with a colleague, then we often hold silently some grudge against him. We then tend to utter this grudge in form of a seemingly factual criticism of the other person’s acitivity. Don’t criticize. You simply don’t know the other person. And if you feel compelled to judge or criticize, then you might consider the following (the number relates to the six points in the aforementioned post):
7. Say something negative about an other person only if you are at the same time able to state something positive that forces you to respect or admire the person in question. — The reason is balance. If you can come up only with negative points or features, chances are high that you are wrong. Instead, you demonize the person, you use the medium of stating a fact as a vehicle to transport your negative feelings about the person. Neither are you dealing properly with the situation, nor does the person have any chance of redemption. Because your judgement appears eternal. And it binds you more than the other person. So first find something positive to counteract your brewing sentiment. Then talk. And chances are, you will not. Because it isn’t necessary anymore.
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