You just can’t. So stop trying.
The best you can expect is to be true to yourself, to pray your impact matches your intentions, and to try not to deliberately offend anyone. But the fact is that more than likely someone will be upset anyway. Its inescapable. Sometimes they’ll have good cause and at other times not. If you start from the premise above, it then comes down to perspective…yours versus everyone else’s.
I once gave a family member some furniture only to have another one tell me I should have given it to them. To be fair, neither of them deserved it and had I had ample space I would have kept it. I was living in Houston during Hurricane Katrina when families displaced from New Orleans began to pour into the city. I remember going to Popeye’s Chicken and ordering 200 pieces of chicken and buying a half of pallet of bottled water and loaves of bread to take to the local social services offices as a donation. When I got there I was confronted by a woman who wanted to know why there were no wings or Louisiana hot sauce.
My first thought was to take the chicken to work and set it in the cafeteria where I knew it would be immediately appreciated. Instead, I smiled and went back to work.
The way I look at it, you should only give what you can walk away from. You can’t control what people will do, know what people are thinking, or always predict how people really feel.
But you can be consistent, values based, and purpose driven.
Relationships are very important. They sum us up. It is impossible to add context to who you are as an independent variable. Your self description will always includes references to other people, groups, and organizations like your family, your alma mater, and your occupation.
In the produce store of life you are not the pit in the peach. Strip away everyone and everything else and you won’t be left standing tall…alone.
You are the onion that is composed of layers and layers of relationships. Some are close and others aren’t. Cut an onion perfectly down the center and you will find an empty place. That means we sometimes need time alone. Because there are times when we need to withdraw to recharge.
But “me time” can’t last forever. We are wired to socialize and we keep finding more ways to do it.
As we increase our touch points we exponentially increase the demands that we place on each other. And quite frankly, we can’t meet all of those expectations. We don’t have enough to give to fill all the orders. So we make decisions and judgement calls about what’s most important. Sometimes we get it right and at other times we don’t. But after all, we are human and for all our strength we are frail.