There are certain strengths or abilities that human beings possess. The most well-known or discussed is the power of love. But recently we are seeing the negative results of another power that is becoming more infamous in everyday life.
Influence is the ability to manipulate another person or persons into doing or carrying out one’s desires. These desires may be positive or negative. For example, you may want someone to attend an event with you, so you provide the tickets and transportation. Or, in the case of negative exploitations, someone may carry out violence at the suggestion of another person whom they may recognize as an authority figure; or they will do something to get the attention of someone whom they perceive as being stronger or more powerful than themselves.
Unfortunately, incidences of violence from school yard bullying to political assassinations are growing in number, and many people are falling under the power of influence. This relinquishing of one’s will or personal may cause them to also become a victim of the circumstances themselves. Too often the bully or victimizer has low self-esteem or could be suffering from some kind of emotional or mental defect.
The power of influence is used, however, by all of us against each other in order to have our way or to get the things we want; i.e. wives to husbands, and vice versa; children to parents, and vice versa; friends to each other; employees to employers, and vice versa; governments to other governments; and on and on. In one of my previous blogs, “Choose your battles,“ I enumerated several ways we can avoid becoming embroiled in conflicts by restraining our desire, or influence, to have authority or control in the situation.
We are constantly in battles of trying to influence our way through life; most often with little negative effect. But when influence is used to carry out schemes causing harm to another, should the person wielding the influence be held as accountable as the perpetrator? By recognizing that the power of influence is at work in our day-to-day interactions, we may be able to consider our motives first before we try to get someone to do what we want. This self-examination will reduce our responsibility for injury or harm to another. Connecting compassion to the power of influence is a fundamental way.
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