While driving on the two-lane Fraser Highway, hundreds of feet above a frothy river of the same name, I was given sagely advice from the car’s back seat.
The only thing you can control is yourself.
Do Unto Others…
…what you would have them do to you. That’s an old cliche, but it makes a good point.
I got into an argument with my father two weeks ago, right before I left for vacation that would take me well outside cell phone range. I pushed too hard to make my point, and after we stopped talking, I knew I had been the aggressor. I hesitated to say anything, and missed the chance to be leaving the city.
My mother and I discussed it (she was on vacation with me). I thought about it myself. In the end, I wasn’t happy with how the situation had ended, but for a while I was unwilling to admit that I should be the first to take action.
On the way back from that vacation, I was given the piece of advice that at the beginning of this post. I realised that if I expect an apology, I would have to take control of myself and apologise.
I decided to take control of myself. When I got home, I apologised. It was the first thing I did after depositing my bags.
The words of the earlier argument melted away and became immaterial. All the tension that had built up over my week-long vacation disappeared.
Do you expect people to apologise to you when they do something wrong? Apologise when you do something wrong. Do you expect people to solicit your feedback? Ask them for theirs.
I took control and did what I had to. I chose to act, and the needle moved.