Going by the virtual scolding I got via tonnes of emails for not writing the column last week, this headline may as well have been on me. But it’s not. I’m genuinely sorry for having ditched last week, but then you all were more than understanding. Anyway, this headline is borne out of a sense of frustration I experienced yesterday, being witness to a couple’s loud squabbling at a public place. I was on a date with myself, enjoying a leisurely meal alone in a nice restaurant (remember we had vowed to treat ourselves once a month? Are you keeping it up?). Just then this couple entered and perched themselves on the table right next to mine. There’s nothing wrong with that, although the restaurant was near-empty. But they were too busy fighting, to care. Apparently, the guy had promised to meet her at a certain time and got really late. By full ten minutes. And then he made the unforgivable mistake of not even calling her up to inform her of the reason. So he had been saying sorry for the last twenty minutes. And though she kept saying ‘it’s okay’, she also continued sulking.
Now, I normally don’t eavesdrop. Achha yaar I do. Ab aapse kya chhupaana, what can be more entertaining than such live performance? But as I mentioned, this one was frustrating, because rather than bringing up new, interesting arguments, this girl just kept harping ad nauseam about why he had come late that day when he’s otherwise punctual. Paka diya, by God. There are many such pakau people around us, who catch hold of one mistake you’ve made, and try to kill you over it with sheer mental torture. Whatever happened to the art of forgiving and forgetting? Do note that I’m not referring to big mistakes like breaking someone’s trust or being intentionally malicious towards someone — because those, if you ask me, are not even worthy of forgiveness. But the small little errors that we sometimes make in our day-to-day lives out of clumsiness, are not big enough for someone to rob us of our peace of mind. Especially, when we’ve said sorry for it. Introspect for a bit and try to see if you are one such sulker or a ninja fighter in disguise. And if you are, here’s what I have to say to you.1 The longer you hold on to a grudge over a minor matter, the longer you are blocking your mind from seeing something positive. Once I ended up ignoring a call from a colleague as I was busy catching a deadline. When I called him back, he started off by taunting how I’ve become too busy to respond, and I said sorry, explaining the reason. I genuinely meant my apology. But every time I bumped into him afterwards, he would sarcastically mention how his call got ignored. He did the same when one day I called to wish him on his promotion. I hung up. I’m sure his attitude cost him a lot of good wishes that could’ve come his way in life.
2 Holding a grudge requires too much energy, don’t you think? Ek hi baat ko baar baar bolte raho... repeating how the other person did a wrong thing. Whose energy is getting wasted, tell me... his or yours? Anyway, medical science has proved that holding grudges and not letting go of negative emotions can cause anxiety, depression, diarrhoea etc. Okay, maybe not diarrhoea, but the other two are not good either.
3 Strangely enough, most people who are constantly and endlessly shouted at over minor matters continue to make the same mistakes. Because their mind becomes used to anticipating the cribbing and in turn stops to take it seriously. So many times I’ve seen people dismiss a nagging spouse by saying ‘uski aadat hai chik chik karna’, and thereby not paying attention to any merit that all the complaining may have. Similarly, keep shouting at your teenager over the same thing everyday and soon he or she may start avoiding you, but won’t stop doing whatever it is. There’s a certain respect and attention your grudge gets if it is expressed politely, firmly... and sparingly. Don’t take away that respect from yourself.
4 You may have trouble believing the offender’s apology. Not without a good reason though, because people often don’t mean it, and utter it just to maintain peace in a heated moment. But don’t let cynicism close all your mind’s doors because someone may just be genuinely feeling sorry. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt, and gracefully accept the apology, saying that you would not like them to repeat a wrong behaviour. And leave it at that. Trust me, this works much better than constantly cawing like a crow in their ears and irritating them into doing the same thing again. If you decide to accept someone’s apology, then mean that acceptance as much as you would like that person to mean his or her regret. If you say ‘it’s okay’ without meaning it, how do you expect the other person to mean it when they say ‘I’m sorry’? Socho.
5 Lastly, the golden rule that I had mentioned a few weeks back too — forgiveness is for yourself, not for the other person. If someone has done something wrong, why should you punish your mind by renting out a portion of it to something as negative as pain. Do yourself a favour by ignoring the minor mishaps in life. Especially if they have already occurred and just remembering or talking about them won’t change anything. Sometimes when you stay silent and act graceful, the offender feels guiltier. Because deep inside, we all know when we’ve done something wrong. Don’t we?
Sonal Kalra has decided that she won’t ever say sorry more than once for a mistake. Izzat bhi koi cheez hai life mein. By the way, she’s sorry again for not writing last week. You’ve forgiven her nah?
Tell her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on facebook.com/sonalkalra13
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