Asking in place of accusing is always the better approach. Instead of defensiveness, you get facts. It also can be the gateway to deep trust in a relationship.
Hello there, everyone. Today I want to share with you a very simple and yet challenging tip that can be very transformative in my and your life. And this came out of a discussion I was having in a class where we were studying the very well-known Biblical story of Adam and Eve where G-d turns to Adam, after he eats from the tree and goes into hiding and says, Where are you? And Adam’s response is that I heard your sound in the garden, your voice in the garden and so, therefore, I went ‑‑ and I am naked so I hid. And G-d then said, Who told you that you’re naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I told you not to eat from?
G-d does something very simple over here. G-d doesn’t say why did you and makes an accusation but G-d asks a question, “Where are you?” And asking the question actually softens the reality and makes it easier for Adam to come to terms with the reality, although he still doesn’t do that right away.
But we all know that what normally happens when someone accuses us of something is that we get defensive. We actually run away from the reality. Whereas, when we are not attacked or accused but we are only asked, it makes it much easier for us to face up to what it is that we have done.
So imagine this scenario, imagine that your spouse or your friend is taking the car to go to work and you tell them, Look, the car is almost on empty, there’s almost no gas left. Make sure to pick up gas on your way to work. And you get a call 20 minutes later from your spouse or your friend and they say, Hi, I really need your help, I’m stuck on the side of the road. And you already know what happened. They ran out of gas. What is the classic response? Well, why didn’t you fill it with gas? What’s wrong with you? I told you it’s on empty and I told you you’re going to run out of gas. Why didn’t you listen? Right?
Now, that is such a classic response that it’s quite common that the person making the call for the help is already waiting for the onslaught and the attack and the accusations to come. They’re already worked up themselves anticipating what is going to be coming from you.
There is another way that we can respond and that is with a question. What happened? Did you run out of gas? Very simple. Instead of saying, why did you, we ask what happened, did you run out of gas? And they will say yes. And then you can simply say, Okay, let me help you so that we can get you moving and get to work. And we remove the entire drama. We help them as we would regardless, and we are saving ourselves from the divisiveness that gets put into our relationship.
And this all sounds like a beautiful communication tip because many people say that relationships are all about communication. And I am here to tell you that this is not a communication tip. This is actually much deeper than a communication tip because relationships are far deeper than communication. It’s not about how we communicate, it’s how we feel. Our communication is only an outcome of the way we are feeling. You see, when we simply learn how to say the right things, the feelings behind the right words that we’re saying aren’t there and they come across very strongly
So here is the actual tip. The actual tip isn’t not to accuse but to ask, the tip is to understand why we accuse. And once we understand why we accuse, we can change that so that we stop accusing.
You see, when the person calls up and says, I ran out of gas, the reason why you or I may get frustrated or angry and point fingers and make accusations is because we are thinking about ourselves. Oh, my goodness, now I have to take care of all of this. I have to make calls, I have to make sure you get the gas, what a headache, why did you have to do this to me. However, when we are fully focused on the fact that this other person is trying to get to work and stuck on the side of the road, regardless of why it happened, that is the reality that they’re in. And we just clarify that they are out of gas and say, Okay, I’ll be right on it. Then who are we thinking about? Not ourselves, but them.
Bottom line, whenever we are consumed in ourselves we will never respond properly; whenever we are consumed by the reality or the other person, we will have a much healthier response. And that’s the reason why Adam was in defensive mode and God wanted to soften that so God asked him a question, because who was God in fact thinking about? God was thinking about Adam. And when we think about another person, then we speak appropriately, we don’t blow the fuse and we don’t make accusations. The accusations are a direct outcome of the fact that we are consumed with ourselves. And that ‑‑ which is the natural reaction. But we want to pursue in our lives living the unnatural or what I would call the supra natural way which always offers the most productive reaction.
And imagine this, if you consider this, too, you will understand how powerful this is. The person making the call that they ran out of gas is in most instances anticipating the accusations that are going to come. That’s what they’re used to from most of the people around them. They already are experiencing so much negative energy, which is completely unnecessary, even before they make the call. And the fact that you respond positively diffuses all of their negative energy from them, A. And, B, it instills in them this beauty that in their relationship with you, you are not there to point fingers at them but you’re always there to cover their back. And that creates such an enormous level of trust and such an enormous feeling of love and caring that it does wonders for a relationship. If you’ve ever done this you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve been the recipient of such a response, you really know what I’m talking about. And if you never experienced this, I encourage you to offer it to the people who are very near and dear to you and you will see the beauty of it.
So I want to leave you with this challenge: The next time someone does something which is causing you an inconvenience, instead of accusing them of having done things in a way that they should not have, even if that is 100 percent true, just be there for them.
One point we always need to remember, you’re not going to change the way they decided to approach that situation because clearly you told them to do it one way and they decided to do it a different way. But you can change the way you react. And the way you react to them will influence them to reconsider the way they do things.
Take it on and experience the beautiful results from it.