Overbearing? Maybe Patronizing

“Trying to help without permission may be condescending and overbearing. Take caution.”

At one point in time each of us have the tendency to help. Especially when the other party seems to be making all the bad decisions all along, at least as per our judgement. You may feel helpful and caring which in some cases you are but not entirely considering you have no idea what the basis of the decisions being made are. In other terms you don’t have the facts on their circumstances. Additionally, as individuals we have different thought processes which means we make decisions as best appears to serve our interests. Another person imposing their ideals on what we need to and should think is intrusive.


Yesterday I promised to share a piece on an interesting conversation I had with my sister. It’s always a blessing to have siblings who can talk on phone like they own Safaricom but being a teacher probably she is positive about the CS Prof. Magoha smiling with their accounts with the current tensions on reopening of schools. Who knows? I’ll wait to check with her after. So on the subject matter, through our conversation there is this project she’s managing and as it’s ongoing she kept losing her cool considering the foreman she chose to help with the coordination kept making some terrible decisions in the course of the work. In the initial plan, he had envisioned saving a part of his pay with my sister to help out at a later stage. Partly this was advised by my sister knowing that he needed to at least do something constructive with the entire pay. (This is how we tend to assume we should act as logical humans; at the end of a project invest in something worthwhile not to let the whole pay go down the drain.) Unfortunately, in certain circumstances the other party may never see your sense and even when they do it doesn’t fit in their approach to life. Ultimately you aren’t helping but making their lives unbearable for no reason.


Out of concern it all revolved from a point of wishing them a better life and looking at ways of enabling him to offer the family that life. At least that was my sister’s thinking. This brought me to the question of what a good standard of living is. I don’t think I can get any standard and approved definition but generally it would mean a life we are happy with and fulfilled in. This makes it subjective and therefore you can’t assume what a good life should be for another. Any decision they make zeros down to their priorities and what makes them happy. Imposing your standards however logical may never go down well with them. Being in higher power they may accept to act as you have suggested but it doesn’t mean it was ideal for them.


The conversation got me reflecting on my childhood. We had one of the best herdsmen (Maguge) to ever exist. He never failed to take the animals out, never failed to milk except for Saturdays and Sundays which was on us as the boys. As standard, teachers love giving guidance and my mother as usual had a chat with Maguge one evening when he was being handed his pay. In her suggestion, all she had figured out was ways that Maguge could save up and probably invest in animals considering he was already so good at rearing them. He wasn’t the kind of man to mince his words so as outright as he could, he told mom that considering he had done what was necessary for him to earn the money, whatever he did with it was nobody’s business. Even if he decided to throw it to the birds it was at his discretion and he wouldn’t be offending anyone. He won the argument and that was a clear lesson to me.


By being overbearing, we deny others a chance to take control of and lead their lives. We make them exist as subordinates and in the long-run may become rebellious when they don’t have to. Let them make their decisions as they find fit but when you can’t keep your calm, ask to know more about their circumstances that make them decide as they do. It’s important to switch positions once in a while to assess and even when it fails to convince you, acknowledge that it is their lives and provided they are not intruding into your space; they have their personal liberties. Respect these.

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