Nobody in the world is perfect and all of us at one time or another have been guilty of treating other people poorly or having mistaken opinions. The advice available to us can be very conflicting. On the one hand we are taught the ideal of “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. This seems to suggest avoiding confrontation altogether. On the other hand we are taught that bullies respond to strength and that sometimes the best defense is an attack.
I think that the key thing that we need to understand when analyzing this question is that what we focus on grows, regardless of whether our focus is obtained through support or through resistance. The most valuable gift we have is our awareness. By giving it, we are sharing our energy.
Therefore focusing on the minor flaws and mistakes that other people make is simply unkind. It turns these small flaws into something more significant than what they should be. It sends the message that mistakes must be avoided at all cost. Such an attitude is detrimental to personal growth because those who do not make mistakes do not learn.
Confronting someone about being in a bad mood when they are simply hungry or tired, or pointing out minor flaws in person’s appearance are ways of looking for an unnecessary fight. So is sharing a judgmental opinion with a friend who did not ask for it.
However before you assume that I am advising you to always avoid confrontation, I would like to repeat what I previously said. What you focus on grows, and your awareness is your greatest gift. You should not feel obligated under any circumstances to contribute your attention and life force to the aggrandizement of mistaken beliefs, cruelty and part truths, no matter who is trying to perpetuate them.
Often in an attempt to avoid a reality that is too painful for them, people put a favorable interpretation on the events taking place in their lives. An interpretation that doesn’t require a re-evaluation of their belief system and attitudes. They attempt to create a reality that is different from the one taking place in order to allow themselves to feel right and justified in their positions.
“My son is not an alcoholic he is just depressed.” “The other man tricked my wife into cheating.” “I am not bad at my job, all the superiors I’ve had were just very stupid.” “It’s okay to go to war because we are the good guys and everyone else is the bad guy.”
Whatever the mistaken belief that is driving the person, if you cannot peacefully avoid not contributing to this belief, then you must confront the person. Honesty tends to be the best policy, and a little pain right away is usually better than a lot of pain years later.
Do not hire your friend’s alcoholic son. Be honest. Just make sure that the aim of your confrontation is not to hurt the mistaken party, but rather to help them cause less hurt to themselves and others.