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"Social engineering is a discipline in social science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups." -- (Source)
The efficacy of "I'm sorry", "Please" and "Thank you" in Human relationship
The words of the first headline of this article are socio-communication lubricants. Without them, social communication would not only be difficult, it would probably be impossible. They are the salt and pepper of our daily interactions. No day passes without our using at least two of them. Experience shows that they are the most difficult sentences to make, despite the fact that they are the shortest sentences available in our daily conversations.
Among these three sentences, "I'm sorry" is the most difficult. Cocky-eyed and pompous humanity does not like to apologize. Humanity prefers to brace up and, with a stern face, behave as if all is well. Meanwhile, our relationships are decaying!
A lot of people think that it is not necessary to apologize, particularly to a younger person or a person of lower relevance. A big boss in the office wrongly accuses a messenger for doing something that the latter did not do. Later, it is established that the messenger did not do that, and instead of the "big boss" saying "I'm sorry" to the messenger, he sets his face in a stern expression and pretends as if nothing has happened.
But this is wickedness! Mr. Big Boss thinks that his "bigness" would be in doubt if he apologizes. But unknown to him, he is building up his public relations. Respect is earned, it is not something you enforce or legislate upon.
My younger brother once annoyed me a few years ago. I wanted to beat him, but he ran away. So, I pursued him. As I did, he ran to a family I respected a lot. I was not deterred. I threw the belt I had. The iron buckle struck the woman. I refused to apologize. All the occupants in the block of flats came out and engaged me in an abusive duel. When I was tired, I left them. They abused the hell out of me. When I got home, I felt terrible.
Later in the evening, I took a shower, rubbed a good cream, changed my clothes, and went and knocked on the woman's door. When I entered, I knelt down and apologized. She said (and I will never forget those words), "You're the smartest boy I have ever met. I have been wondering what I will think of you next time I see you." It was such a healing experience for me. When I left her flat, I felt as if I had won a million-dollar jackpot.
However, there is a group of people who say "I'm sorry" with reckless abandon. They say that they are sorry only to go back and do the same wrong again. As far as they're concerned, all they need do is say "sorry" and all will be fine. This is a mocking attempt at healing a relationship. "Please" is the next in the difficulty hierarchy. For some people, saying "please" is beggarly, so they'd rather bulldoze their way and get what they want.
"Please" neither comes before their demand nor does "thank you" precede it. And even when you point that out to them, saying "I'm sorry" becomes even much more of a Herculean task! Some people say, "Why should I beg him? Is he the one feeding me?" "Please" when it is said with a sincere heart is not a beggarly expression. It is an appeal, it is a recognition of the fact that the person you're talking to can help you if your case can touch his heart. "Please" also means that you're not taking the person for granted.
A lot of people do not know that the closer you come to people, the more careful you should be while dealing with them. But unfortunately, when such closeness is established, "please," "thank you," and even "I'm sorry" begins to disappear from the interaction. And it is really very unfortunate. For me, the closer I get to people, the more delicate I am in dealing with them. I can play around a lot, but when anyone takes my "lowly play" for granted, it gnaws at my liver. And I think it does the same to many.
A managing director who says to his secretary, "Could you please get me the file?" is more likely to get appreciated and respected by not just the latter but all the other people in the office. That would be much better than if he had barked, "Get me the file!" After all, the MD's saying "please" does not reduce his status. It rather enhances it.
How many times have we remembered to say "thank you" to our wives for cooking a good meal or even any meal at all? Or is it the woman who is condemned to saying "thank sir" because "it's a man's world"? Appreciation is fast disappearing from our daily conversations and relationships. It is a jet-age world where people are so much in a hurry to appreciate themselves. But a dangerous dimension has been added to our mentality.
And that is where people are always expecting material, especially financial, "thank yous." That is why many people, even on their birthdays or other celebrations, do not regard greeting cards as important anymore. The result is that many people who would have come to felicitate with us stay away because they can afford "only cards" and no other things to give.
There is also a hypocritical dimension that has existed for too long in the thanksgiving realm. Some people, in fact many of us, say "don't mention" (whatever that means -- since the person has already said it) when people tell them "thank you" for doing something good for them! Yet if the person does not thank them, they'd be the first to tell everyone who cares to listen: "That guy is an ungrateful wretch; imagine after going through all these troubles, he could not even thank me!"
“I’m” and “thank you” are little statements that matter a great deal. They diffuse tensions, make our communication free-flowing, and many a time, cool our rising tempers. My local adage says that “please does not contain salt or spice, but it cools the heart.” And the Holy Writ says that “a soft answer turns away wrath.”
The circumstances and conditions under which our interactions take place are usually crucial, and our ability to keep a cool head when there is tension is usually considered a sign of maturity. The way we treat other people is a crucial factor in our lives, and there is a need for us to recognize that we are not humans while others are animals or pieces of wood! Apologies, appeals, and appreciations, when interjected into our daily dealings, help to heal hurting hearts and serve our solution-seeking souls.
The Concept of Friendship
FRIENDSHIP is the costliest merchandise in the social market! You cannot pick up friendship on the streets and in the markets the way you pick up sex on the byways. Everyone says, "he is my friend," "oh that friend of mine," bla bla! But on a closer look, you'd discover that those people are not friends because they're not known.
I say, Someone meets someone once in a bank and then the next time he would be talking to some other person, he'd say "ah, I have a friend in that bank." "Friend"? Ha! Are you sure? Haven't you forgotten his/her name? Yet you call him/her your friend?
Being friendly does not mean you are friends. However, it is a good way to start. The Bible says that a man who has friends must show himself friendly (Proverbs 18:24). Those who do not have friends cannot be friendly; it is practically impossible.
People do not have to seek or search for friends. You just find one. Any friendship that is sought for has an ulterior motive. Friendship develops independently when it is cultivated. It merges from a convergence of same interests, same hobbies, same purposes/goals, and same routine, sometimes same persons.
Friendship is also the highest degree of relationship we can cultivate. It is cultivated and nurtured, watered and watched (carefully) as it grows to full maturity. Some do not want to invest anything in friendship, yet they want to reap its dividends. You will be charged for stealing if you do that. But why is friendship the highest and costliest relationship that we can cultivate? It is because you become someone's friend by choice. No one ever forces friendship on you. Every other relationship has some degree of arbitrariness about it: father-son, brother-sister, cousin-cousin, mother-daughter, daughter/son, employer-employee, even husband-wife and (pitifully) creator-creature!
You don't choose your father. You just wake up one growing-up-morning, one knowledge-morning, and find someone whom you're told to call "daddy". You didn't choose him! You also discover that as a man if you get to 40 and you don't have a wife, society would slam you with the tag of persona non grata. So, under pressure, you find someone you keep in your house and then call her "wife" even if you have five others outside! Then following some acrobatic display in the night seasons, she delivers, after nine months, one tiny creature; and for perhaps the third time in your life you're called into a relationship you didn't choose-you now have a "son" or "daughter" - whether ugly or fine!
The most pathetic relationship is, perhaps, that of creator-creature! You have been created by God. So, you have got no choice!
You must follow Him! Even if he is going into a ditch! You're told not to worry, that He created the ditch also! But some people rebel! They want to worship the sun, the moon and stars. They want to serve stones and deadwoods! But sweetheart, can't you see that you don't have any choice in this matter? You're a mere creature who didn't choose your Creator. So, the earlier you start becoming friendly with this your Creator, this your father, this your wife or that your son, the better you would live through life smoother than you're doing now! Try and see.
For when you have a wife that is your friend as well, it is sweet; or a father with whom you can discuss anything, just about anything! For some people, their spouses are simply strangers to them. So, they are just mere "acquaintances". Acquaintanceship is only but seed of friendship, and a planted seed for that! Acquaintanceship must need grow into friendship or it would be of no use. Friendship is higher than any other relationship because it is the product of freedom, it is a deliberate choice. That is why Holy Writ says that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother! (Proverbs 27:6). This is why your brother has to be your friend so that there can be a flow of virtue, the virtue of friendship.
Friendship is costly because to be a good friend, you must give your resources, your ego, your time and sometimes (without intending to) your life! I once had a friend who suddenly turned against me for something she could not tell me. But she was to go for surgery at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and needed three pints of blood! And even though she was not talking to me then, I followed her sheepishly to LUTH and donated my blood pint to her as well. It was hard on my ego, but I had to push ego aside to pay a friend. I felt she was just going through pains and needed to be in her own world, a world of silence, for a while.
Indeed, friendship is the ability to speak to yourselves, sometimes in silence! Someone says "friendship is one mind in two bodies." And although I later lost this friend of mine three years after (a fall out from the sickness), I was glad that I kept faith and tried to make her live again! She never forgot me after her hospital ordeal!
James F. Byrnes once said that "Friendship without self-interest is one of the most beautiful things in life." A lot of people use people and call them friends. How can you have a friend for whom you cannot inconvenience yourself a little? Cheap friendship won't last long. Sooner or later, it will fold up like a mat.
A friend is someone you would welcome to your house at 1 AM with a smile - because he or she needed help. He or she saw other doors but could knock on yours because he or she doesn't have to. Something made him or her choose your door! What was it?
For the sake of a friend, you can open your mind and ears, and receive everything; take the useful seeds of that "everything", and with a touch of kindness and gentleness, blow the chaff away! That's friendship!
How much does that friendship cost you? Have you been using that person you call a "friend"? What do you know about him or her? These questions would be standard measurements for your friendship. Answer them sincerely.
The Depth of True Love Is the human heart the oval-shaped pumping machine that is barricaded by the ribs in the chest region? Or is it something esoteric that dwells both within our members and controls the outside experience, which we call action?
These questions are crucial because unless we understand that there is a link between our biological heart and the other that leaps for joy when we feel happy or breaks down when we feel betrayed, we will not fully understand what this thing and person called heart is. Indeed, the biological heart is a thing, but the one that lurks around our entire being is a person. Religious people sometimes call it the "spirit," but I prefer "heart" because it is more graspable by secular humanity.
The heart is the greatest gift the human being has. The physical human heart works for an entire lifetime. If the body would live 100 years, it works for 100 years also. And when it breaks down, life ceases, and death comes.
But a man is his heart. The heart is the center of activity. It is that which talks when the mouth is shut. The heart talks to the eyes, the ears, the nose, and reacts to feelings. I have found out that the emotional activities of the heart automatically affect the physical heart. The heart revolts, and the man begins to feel as if the heart would drop into his stomach from the chest.
Oftentimes, this emotional disposition weakens the entire organs of the body, and even the legs do not seem to be able to carry the body anymore. Sometimes it feels as if the legs don't have any bones anymore. They begin to wobble.
Take the human heart away, and the words love, passion, religion, courage, sympathy, feeling, compassion, pity, and emotion would become meaningless.
But by far the greatest problem that man has with his heart, a delusion of some sort, is that he thinks that he can control it. It was the French social contract theorist, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who once said that "nothing is less in our power than the heart, and far from commanding we are forced to obey it." The heart leads, the person follows, almost mechanically.
Since it appears that man has no control over what the heart would do, how and when it would do it, what then can he do? Well, man can and should guard his "heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the issue of life." If we can't control what the heart does, we can at least control what data the heart feeds on. We can barricade, cordon off, protect, or defend what enters the heart.
For once these things enter there, it becomes only a matter of time before "out of the abundance of that heart, the mouth speaks," the eyes roll, the ears hear, and the body generally reacts. The inability to guard the human heart has tended to make it acquire the propensity to be "desperately wicked." No wonder the Holy Book, in reference to the human heart, asks a million-naira question, "who can know it?"
It appears that only the person "carrying" his heart can know it. And, of course, the Creator who both made man and his heart. Or was it not in his heart that Adolf Hitler conceived the chain of events that resulted in the extermination of close to six million Jews?
Was it not in his heart that Osama bin Laden conceived and nurtured the terror that was unleashed on the United States of America on September 11? Is it not in his heart that a man would harbor the idea of sneaking into his neighbor's house and commit adultery? Is it not in his heart that a university professor would conceive that it is better to abuse his authority with his 20-year-old female student, in order to allow her pass his course?
The heart is a mystery, but it is also a gift. It is the source of our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows. It is the engine that drives our lives. We must learn to guard it well.
The heart is where ambition is conceived and nurtured to grow, before they come to fruition. But the heart, like democracy, is a nebulous concept if left without any qualifying adjectives. The heart can be soft, compassionate, hard, caring, gentle, tender, shallow, wicked, merciful, or loving. We remember that democracy is either majoritarian, liberal, consensual, social, or representative. Do you remember that former Nigerian leader, Sani Abacha added his own adjectives and we ended with what was to become "Home Grown Democracy"? Please, forgive me for digressing.
But I want to say that the greatest legacy bequeathed to man by his heart is the ability, the capacity, the capability to love. And this is where folks with fragile, glass-like hearts have suffered the most. Their fellow human beings toy with their emotions, break their hearts, and move on as if nothing has happened. Such hearts would bleed and heal, but the scars are there as reminders that they have suffered before.
When this happens, the person is forced to retreat to lonely, solitary confinement. It is difficult to impress such hearts. However, sooner or later, because "love gives itself, it is not bought" (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), the person would reach out again. For to give love is to keep it. A truly loving heart would rather suffer the loss of love than bear the burden of hoarding it. But the truth is, love can never be lost; it is not love until it is given. That is the only place where loss becomes gain.
When it is said that "love is blind," it does not express the inability to see. It rather expresses the refusal to see anything other than what would delight love. For love is not irrational, but infatuation and lust are.
However, when love is not appreciated, when it is not reciprocated, it can be the most traumatic experiences the heart can go through. At such a point, the lover becomes an emotional wreck and, like a tinderbox, anything can detonate it. A heart that can still love in the face of such situations, a heart that can have love for the unlovable, is the heart that humanity desires, even if it does not deserve it. Anyone can love someone who is cute, nice, intelligent, easy-going, and rich. But it takes a man with a heart of gold to love the destitute, the poor, and the unqualified folks at the ghetto part of town. However, it takes much more than a "heart of gold" to love in the face of rejection, hostility, or indifference.
It takes someone who knows the "God of love" (not the god that leads people to commit fornication and adultery on February 14 every year in the name of "Lovers Day") to love a hurting, aching, and unlovable humanity. A heart of gold is a good place to start, but a "heart for God" is the ultimate principle that can lead to a true love for men.
Love is more powerful than an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), a nuclear-powered submarine, or all the petrodollars in the world. The blood from a bleeding heart is seed for more love. And as Alfred Lord Tennyson once said, "it is better to have loved and lost, than not to have loved at all." However, though a lover may lose, love never loses
Know when to be Smart:
Recently, I have come to realize that people are easily deceived, lied to, and manipulated. This is why I always recommend that you have a mind of your own. Some humans are very treacherous by nature, and they will often get in your way, trigger you, torture you, and cause you pain.
Our task is to outmaneuver them in their games. We can do this by subtly planning several moves ahead, lying when it is necessary, and recognizing when it is time to be bad. We cannot be good all the time, as people will take advantage of us. We also need to know when to say no.
We should make our face like that of an actor who plays a different role. We should play with our appearance and master the art of deception. Doing all of this when it is necessary will always keep us one step ahead of our enemies.
If we do not do this, and we try to play innocent or holy all the time, the gods of power might frown on us and ignore us when others play a power game on us or take advantage of us. I always know when to be bad.
Human or Inhuman?
What makes us human? We have two eyes, like most mammals. We have four limbs, just like them. We have teeth, intestines, hair, senses, and we need to eat. Basically, most animals are the same. We have DNA, and they do too.
If we take non-living things, minerals don't have DNA, but they do have a specific composition. We can find them unique in the periodic table. So, if we compare the composition of any mineral to our DNA, we can probably say that there are some differences, but basically, each mineral is like living creatures, they do have differences.
Essentially, we have to narrow down to our minds, our intelligence, our creativity, and our innovation. Our ability to change the environment is what makes us human. That includes other people. And that can include humanity at large.
A Basic Fact about Relationships
One secret to a successful relationship is to genuinely accept that you are also difficult to date. You have issues too.
It's natural to think that the problem in your relationship is your partner or your ex. But the only truth that will set you free is that you are also a problem. Accepting this truth will automatically help you maintain a calm and positive posture during moments of misunderstandings.
One of the major intractable and perennial problems in every human relationship is that we blame others more than we blame ourselves. We nag and shift blame. We never accept responsibility for anything. Our eyes are often too open to see the faults of others, but always too blind to see our own mistakes or problems.
This is too bad! Learn to take some of the blame sometimes. Be verbal about this too. Speak to your partner and assure them that you are also working on yourself to change for the better. Say to your partner, "Babe, I need to remind you that I'm still working on myself. I know I'm not perfect. I know that I can be very selfish sometimes. I know that I can be difficult to be with sometimes. But I promise to continue to work on myself to change this version of me and become better for you. I love you."
One way to avoid shifting blame always is to first of all tell yourself, "I'm responsible" anytime things go amiss in your relationship with people. Accept responsibility first, whether you are right or wrong. This will save you from a lot of emotional torture and also save your relationship.
From the shadows, they have engineered every major war, revolution, and recession. They control what you read, what you hear, and what you see. They have managed to indoctrinate an entire populace to their way of thinking, and have infiltrated key positions in places of authority.
It is from the shadows that they have created a new political order, a new economic order, and, most sinisterly, a new religious order. Their ultimate aim is total global domination, and they will stop at nothing to reach their anal--the anal that wasTheir ultimate aim is total global domination, and they will stop at nothing to reach their goal!
Not Everything is Politics
As a youth, if you hear that mothers are gathering somewhere and a politician urges you to go and chase them away, because they are not members of their political party, tell that politician to lead such a movement themselves. Or to send partners, children, or blood brothers to lead such an atrocious movement. Not everything is politics.
When you see African women gather, you are seeing women who are often widows, grannies, disabled, nursing mothers, and natural prophetesses. who have the power to curse or bless, sometimes without even knowing it.
While we're aware of the fact that some of us have no regard for our mothers, sisters, and womanhood generally, we must be aware of the risks we are taking for politicians today. These risks could lead to a failed future, untimely death, poverty, and penury.
If the politician I am working for today chooses atrocity and gross animosity, as a strategy to win an election that with a term limit, I will resign my engagement with them, and start working for my wife and daughter. Once you are alive today, you should worry more about tomorrow.
Be careful, some of us are killing our future in the name of helping another man's political interest, ambition, and future. Remember that your actions and inactions today are your own failure tomorrow. May I not shame my generation in the name of politics.