Is it Good to Influence?

Master with puppet

Whenever we try to persuade a person to change his behavior, way of thinking or decisions, we cast the nets of influence on him. Some people do it with love, others with manipulation.

I think none of us can escape them as they are a part of our life, people connected with us in one way or the other. We don’t realize till a particular age, whether being influenced is the right approach. We don’t even know that somebody is trying to influence us.

We agree to follow, out of love, respect or admiration and slowly it becomes our habit. By the time we start resenting the influence, our core beliefs and values are already ingrained in us.

So what we become is, many times, the influence of our parents, teachers, siblings and peers. A lot of people live under the shadow of these influences all their life.

If we try to wriggle out, it is with immense effort and that might affect our dearest relationships.

Is it good to influence?

Most of the synonyms of influence are negative: clout, control, domination, pressure.

“There is no such thing as a good influence. Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions.”—Oscar Wilde.

Before arriving at any such definite conclusion, lets consider why do people influence:Personality

  • To win love or trust.
  • To wield their power or control.
  • To show their supremacy.
  • To intimidate.
  • To inculcate values.
  • To emphasize on their culture.

Love?

Friends, let me tell you very candidly that if you get influenced out of love and if you are ready to dance to the tunes of your partner or spouse because you love him/her, such love can never be real love. Love does not demand, it gives. It lets you ‘be’.

Trust?

Trust too can never be won by exerting influence, it is built bit by bit, it doesn’t just loom out of nowhere, it is won through unconditional love, love which doesn’t burden or force to follow a particular path just because somebody wants you to.

Control!

How do they manage to influence? They play with your emotions, pretend love and manipulate you so cleverly that you fail to see their wiles. Obviously, they are trying to control your way of thinking, restrict your activities and hover around you.

Supremacy!

When they want you to do what they like all the time, it is very clear that they try to establish their supremacy. Such people change your personality completely with their surreptitious ways before you realize it. Then there may be no turning back.

Intimidation!

There are such influencers too; who intimidate you into believing and doing what they think is right. Whether it is done with fabricated love or threats, any such influence, which smothers our opinion or coerces us to follow is repressive.

Values?

When you start living under the shadow of somebody, you lose your own personality and your own passions. In traditional and conservative societies, Influencers get an additional argument to impose their despotic views in the name of upholding their values and culture.

Only those who are insecure try to influence others but they wear a mask of tenacity.

Those with weak emotions, tender heart and kind demeanor can be easily influenced with a little potion of love.

Indecisive persons too get influenced effortlessly. Many times they become puppets in the hands of those whom they believe to be their well-wishers.

My own personality, which was molded by the furnace of time and circumstances, strengthened by the touchstone of varied experiences, has changed a bit due to the benevolence and graciousness of people around me but I have never felt trapped in the nets of influence. However, good influence is dwindling.

Do you know such influencers? Have you ever been influenced? Do you like it? I would love to hear all the answers.
If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

©Balroop Singh     

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28 thoughts on “Is it Good to Influence?

  1. “My own personality, which was molded by the furnace of time and circumstances, strengthened by the touchstone of varied experiences,” – live and let live is OK if one is willing to face the consequences of not not intervening(influencing) in tbe right time. There is a very fine line between rights and responsibilities that many of us can not or do not tread carefully and live to rue the consequences.
    Very thoughtful post Balroop.

    1. I agree with you Pranab, we have to maintain that fine balance! Some people trample that fine line deliberately, probably for their own selfish motives. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  2. I believe in the theory of “each one teach one” because no man is an island and I feel that we can actually learn something from another individual that just may turn out to be life changing. On the other hand, it’s disrespectful and in-humane to attempt to shove ones beliefs down another persons throat and should not be tolerated. However, I consider myself as an influencer by way of my blog “Clutter Free Life Style Solutions” by offering decluttering & organizing tips and tricks as a means of sharing the gifts that God has blessed me with to inspire others.

    1. Inspiration is a positive way to influence but that leaves the choice with the other person. It’s good you possess those traits of inspiring others Dottie, through your beautiful blog. Welcome to Emotional Shadows, where all emotions are cared for! 🙂

  3. Balroop, it is indeed a deep issue you take up and I feel many things are interwoven.
    Caring and loving influence can help another grow stronger, it doesn’t mean we give our soul.
    I see it more as if one can shine the light so someone else can see in the dark.

    As to me, I grew up with four siblings very close in age. Of course we influenced each other
    and yet, today, we have grown to chose very different paths. When we meet there is instant
    kindred recognition as we grew together with the same loving parents.

    All negative and deliberate influence of people is indeed very wrong.

    Miriam

    1. Manipulation in the name of love is quite common Miriam and there is a fine line between the two, which blurs unknowingly. Parental love is unconditional till control creeps in and creates havoc. Sibling love too takes a back seat when they grow up and their priorities change. The depth of relationships is hard to fathom!

  4. Very interesting, Balroop. This is not an easy question to answer. I feel that some situations warrant a little advice or influence to help a person we love. But it shouldn’t go beyond that. Once advice or an attempt has been made to influence, then the person should be left to figure it out on their own. So, I guess I’m saying there is a fine balance. Unfortunately, some people abuse their power and attempt to control others via influencing—I don’t agree with that.

    1. Control freaks don’t understand any boundaries Lisa. Love and respect make us follow our dear ones but as adults we have to define our limits. People pleasers stumble and fail to see abuse till it becomes detrimental.

  5. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the word influence was parenting. But this is completely different than the love given as a parent. I was surrounded by the controlling side of this as a child, along with others who had purer intentions. Now, I’m not easily influenced as an adult as I am able to see what is being attempted after my childhood. Still I stick to the love side where you can’t go wrong. Thought provoking post, Balroop.

    1. Parental influence or control is justified till it is positive and most of the parents do well till their children hit teenage. Conflicts start at that stage! Till love remains the guiding force, influences work well. I am trying to convey the kind of influence that ruins adult relationships. Blessed are those who get influenced by just love!

  6. It is a very interesting write-up. When I see things from an Indian perspective, most parents are control freaks. Unknowingly, they hamper a child’s natural abilities to think and grow. It is like bending a river’s natural course. Also, in our society, manipulation, relationship, and love are all intertwined. At times, you are perplexed whether you should give in in the name of love and relationship or tell the person that it is not acceptable. Not everyone can see how they are being manipulated. Thanks for sharing this write-up.

    1. You understand relationships so well arv. Children do need some control to discipline them and give them some direction. In the present scenario, where schools no longer pay any attention to the unruly behavior, the role of parents has become more challenging. There is no doubt love is used for manipulations in all relationships and people do get misled. Do you get easily influenced?

  7. Just reading this upsets me, that people try to shape others or manipulate them to their beliefs. To this day, my kids tell me the big things in life, I let them decide themselves, just supported them with questions, ideas. I want them to have to tools to make their own decisions.

    Good post, Balroop. You can see you hit a tender spot on me.

  8. I’ve been blessed by the positive influence (modeled behavior) of family members, a friends, teachers and acquaintances over the years as well as by books! Hopefully, I will pass those positive influences along to others through my own words and actions. Passing along your thoughtful post… ❤

  9. A comprehensive post on why people might try to influence you. Agree with you some might want to influence you for the better while others might do so just to take advantage of you. Over the years I’ve been influenced by others because they can come across as very persuasive. What I learnt that what others suggest might not be right for you – it might be right for them but you have your own life to live. When I learnt that listening to others all the time doesn’t make me happy, that’s when I started developing a thicker skin and started standing up for myself – and tell myself it’s okay to say ‘No’ to others. That said, I do still take time to listen to influencers and friends who try to tell me another opinion – always worth listening and respecting their opinion, and maybe learn something from it although you might not agree.

  10. True Mabel, listening is a wonderful skill and needs to be nurtured. Good listeners seem to be nice human beings. As adults, we need to know our mind yet people around us try to change it according to their own wishes. Weak minded people agree just to please or for fear of being disliked, abandoned, avoid unpleasantness and that is how the influencers get an upper hand. I am glad you have worked on this part of your personality. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Have a wonderful weekend.

  11. Advice, yes, influence, no.
    But I have to admit I am weak sometimes and I let myself be influenced by others. I don’t like it but I don’t always have the strenght to fight it either. Still working on it…
    We dont’ always know or notice that we are being manipulated – some poeople do it on purpose, others don’t. It’s just the way they learnt love.
    Interesting Balroop. Thank you for sharing.

  12. I don’t know if we can NOT be influenced by others, Balroop. We’re social animals and interaction always has an influence on us. I don’t like being manipulated at all, but being influenced might not be so bad, especially when it inspires me to make positive choices, to live a healthier, happier, more generous life. I suppose it comes down to the purpose, as you note in the post. Is the goal to manipulate me into doing something harmful to myself and others, or is the goal to support my growth and goals by sharing experience and wisdom? Our job as humans, I suppose, is to recognize the difference. Fascinating post. 🙂

  13. Wise words again from you Balroop and no doubt throughout our lives all of us have been influenced in one form or another at some time or other.. Reading your thoughts here you made a lot of sense..
    Its never good to live under the shadow of someone else just to please them.. We have to develop our own independence and learn to trust our own judgement..
    Something which comes from often making mistakes.. We live and we learn.. 🙂
    Another lovely thoughtful post I enjoyed reading your thoughts Balroop 🙂

    1. Thank you Sue for finding wisdom in my thoughts, most of them formed through observation and experience. As children we may follow our role models but we have to make our own space as we grow up. Those who get easily influenced lose their true self. Many thanks for adding your insights to this discussion. Have a nice weekend.

  14. Hi Balroop, A key point for me was “We don’t realize till a particular age…”. Until I read your post, I did not think about many of the negative connotations surrounding the word “influencer.” And, how “good influence is dwindling.” Your post does make me think how my Father greatly influenced many pervasive thoughts. An interesting, thought-provoking post.

    1. Hi Erika, parents often try to influence us, as they think they have experiences of life, they don’t want us to make the same mistakes yet who learns from the experiences of others! It is only when the influence starts stifling us, do we realize its selfish designs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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