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Behaviours that significantly hurt people

People often indulge in behaviours and attitudes that can easily bring in a lot of hurt. There are certain kinds of behaviours that are subtle, i.e. they do not always spark attention. These aren’t often defined and escape people’s notice, sometimes even the notice of the one actively pursuing it. But the person on the receiving end of that behaviour might feel it to a great extent. They might be affected significantly during those moments.

As an individual we can hone better lives for ourselves as well as others. We can easily perform acts of betterment, such that they bring in a little joy for the others around us. Indulging in proper behaviours would also help us grow. 

So many of us are striving to be better individuals, focusing on personal growth but if we don’t take care of those small unconscious behaviours and attitudes that dominate our daily lives, we might fail to become the person we want to be or need to be. And along with that we become a medium of hurt, a source of unhappiness for other people. In this regard, it is essential to watch out for the behaviours we need to avoid.

Here’s a list of such behaviours:

 1.  Snapping at our loved ones when we are stressed or irritated

Snapping is truly unnecessary. Very often, a loved one might try to get some help from us at odd moments. Moments when we are clutching our heads while being unable to meet a deadline, crushed by the grittiness of that stale and time-consuming job. But does this give us the right to act rude? 

Our minds may be overburdened, stifled by irritation, robbed of our desired peace. But we cannot use this reason to hurt them. Because they haven’t caused this situation to arise. 

When we are too busy, we can ask them to come to us a little later. We can proceed to explain with clarity the extent of our problem. If we are close to them, they would understand what we are going through. 

Arguing for the cause of stress and then snapping would hurt the other person. It might unconsciously hurt us too. Because we might be wrecked by a little guilt, subconsciously aware of what we had done. Our loved ones might then avoid conversation with us. In this way our day would be ruined. And theirs would be no better. 

2. Blaming others for our failure

When we fail and things don’t go our way, we can proceed to seek solutions, use our remaining energies to rise up and work for the next best thing. But instead, we dig a reason for blame, bringing in issues of the past, something related to another person and we hurt them incessantly in this way. Say, someone didn’t help us. But we didn’t even help ourselves. It might have been our lethargy that had stopped us from putting in the regular hours to our work. 

Most of the time when a work stays unfinished, or a goal is not reached, it’s us to blame. We might drag in the family and friends at such moments of failure and focus on the fact that they were unable to help. But we should be aware of the fact that they might not have had any idea about the kind of work we were involved in. Their ignorance might not be their fault. We should have found out things for ourselves. 

We might also give an excuse saying that someone didn’t give us the proper advice. Well, we asked for it in the first place. And they told us whatever they knew. We could have analysed it further. Tried to come up with our own interpretation. 

There are instances when someone’s ahead of us and we blame them too by saying that it was easy for them. That they had had help. But we don’t know what went behind their closed doors. The effort they had put in, the mindset they had nurtured for themselves might not always be visible from the outside.

Sometimes there might be valid reasons to blame. But still, we must not focus too much on them such that those past reasons bar us from moving forward. Also there are a variety of reasons why people act the way they do. Their faults are with them. But we have ours to focus on. People have their good too. Sometimes instead of blaming, we can try to derive inspiration from their good. From witnessing the qualities that we might not possess. From the way they do things differently than us, which inevitably have taken them to a better place. And we can learn from them while honing our natural strengths. 

 3. Ignoring someone’s opinion just because we don’t agree

Sometimes people do not just ignore someone, but they also get annoyed and angry at them for giving an opinion they don’t like. They become too personal even when the opinion is regarding a general topic. It doesn’t even involve them. But they still act that way. It’s because people happen to be too attached to their opinions. They derive their sense of self and identity through them. 

But even while keeping their own opinions intact, they can have a positive attitude towards others’ opinions. They don’t even have to like the opinion. Sometimes people tend to also dislike the person because of their opinion, not just the opinion in itself. Well, that other person has their own reasons why they believe in that thing. Their lives, the way they have grown up, their experiences and value systems, everything together might have been responsible for that single opinion. And it’s true even for the other person as well. Sometimes things are subjective. There are multiple truths. 

In any case, when the opinions are mismatched, at least the behaviour can be taken care of. People unconsciously go on to talk over the other person, cutting them off or at worse getting angry and forcefully stating their own opinion. This can bring in so much hurt. Even if we think someone is wrong, or they may be wrong, we still cannot stop that other person from speaking their opinion. Especially when it’s a general discussion. Every person lawfully holds the right to speak. 

 4. Blatantly criticising someone

We are way too critical of others’ mistakes as already stated. We tend to become harsh at times, scrutinising the other person’s every move, focusing on what they have or haven’t done. It’s good to analyse both sides. That is, instead of just the shortcomings, we can focus on the strengths.

Are these strengths and good qualities more in number and value? We might have focused too much on the flaws such that we ignored and paid less attention to the good parts. We should even analyse the negative sides of that person without bias. Because people are not perfect. Even an inherently good person would have a negative side to them. That is why we should see if those flaws are something we can accept. That is they do not directly affect us. If a person is unproductive, it does affect them, but it doesn’t directly affect us. We should give constructive criticism in that case. That would genuinely help them. But we shouldn’t force things. We shouldn’t try to blame them incessantly. Chances are they are working on their flaw. 

Flaws arise due to many reasons. We cannot always predict the core reason, or know what goes inside a person’s head. We don’t know their deepest insecurities and personal histories. Shortcomings are there in every person. It’s also up to us to analyse them in a non-biased manner.

Sometimes we may criticise someone just because they don’t fit into our idea of how a person should be, what are the qualities they should have. Well, say you have some good qualities, you try to search for the same qualities in another person. But the other person might not have all of those qualities, but they might have the ones you don’t have. You are ignoring those qualities just because you aren’t too focused on them, or greatly value them as you don’t have them for yourself.

 5. Forcing our expectations onto someone

We do have expectations. But expectations can cross boundaries, and become too biased or selfish. When we want another person to treat us exactly the way we want them to, it might put pressure on them. It’s like telling them that they should behave according to us. But that person is different, with his own set of behaviour and feelings. Even, we might not be behaving the way they want. But they aren’t focusing on that. Being a different person than us, they have different ways of reacting to things or situations. They have their own way of showing affection and care. 

Just because we treat someone in a particular way we cannot expect the other person to do the same. They will treat us the way they can. No one should treat us badly though. We have to protest for bad treatment and behaviour. But we cannot blatantly criticise someone’s treatment just because it does not suit our exact preferences. They may be trying hard to care for us, who knows, in their own best manner. Their intentions might be great. Maybe we should just talk to them and try to understand them better. 

 6. Discarding other people’s passions and interests

People do not always know how to value other people’s interests. A main reason for that would be they aren’t themselves interested. Or can’t relate to it. Say someone loves to write and wants to make it as a writer. And there’s another who hates anything to do with the written word but when they see the other person involved in it, they would shun them or have a disregard for what they do.

We don’t have to like something in order to respect it. Respecting it or having a positive attitude towards it would mean respecting the other person and their feelings, their excitement for that thing, their core passions. It’s like caring for another person’s dream. 

Sometimes it exceedingly hurts a person when their dreams and passions are not valued. They derive their happiness, a sense of fulfilment from them and when someone criticises them for it or devalues it, it might take away from them their motivation to go through life. What’s valuable to one person might not be valuable to another. That is why it’s important to cultivate a sense of unbiased understanding towards everything— even towards those things we can’t relate to. In this way we make space for other people to be themselves and let them indulge in their own sources of happiness.

We may not be able to enact great acts of sacrifice, but we can easily perform smaller acts of kindness. These acts don’t just involve doing. An act might also mean the way in which we avoid doing something— something hurtful, for example. It might refer to the ways in which we bring more self-control in our behaviour, making ourselves stop from causing hurt to others unnecessarily. If we can’t actively keep someone happy, we can easily take care of the things that bring them sorrow. And for that, we need to be aware of our subconscious behaviours and attitudes. A lack of awareness and a lack of accountability steers a course for unguarded behaviours and toys with human hearts forever. 

Photo by Cathy Mü on Unsplash

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