April 17, 2024

One of my favorite books, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, taught me on how to always be the bigger person in any relationship. I read this book when I was in se-cond year college after watching a TikTok video recommending it and I did not regret buying it in the bookstore. The line that struck me the most when I read it was the first principle in winning friends and influencing people: “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.” This means that if we want to gain the favor of other people, we should avoid giving condemnation and criticisms because human beings tend to be defensive by justifying themselves. We all know that when a beehive is being hit, a swarm of bees is ready to attack and it will be chaotic. In the same way, when a person is being hit with condemnations and criticisms, it is most likely that he or she would not stand still and be quiet. Instead, it is natural for that person to be aggressive and bring back the attack to you.
According to Carnegie, it also “wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.” Therefore, for us to influence other more, we must always try to understand where they are coming from and make them feel that they are valued. Car- negie also said we must remember that people are made of emotions, and are mostly motivated by pride and vanity. So instead of giving condemnation and criticisms, we must always speak positively towards everybody.
Honestly, this line is a hard pill to swallow and I know that a lot of people would agree on that. As someone who is also prideful and assertive, I did not know how to apply this learning in my life. I have been through a lot of disagreements, misunderstandings, and confrontations with the people around me. With all these, I was used to proving myself and believing that I am always right but upon reading this book, it taught me to be gracious enough to set aside my pride and be humble so that rage of emotions will not continue to escalate. Carnegie stressed that figuring out why people do what they do is a lot better than criticism because it promotes sympathy and forgiveness.
Being the bigger person requires a lot of humility, kindness, understanding, and self-control. Yes, it is hard to always have these four traits. Carnegie emphasizes that it is easy for us to condemn, criticize, and complain about other people but if we are eager to be of great value in building rapport, having these characteristics will eventually lead us to be a better friend, a good communicator, and an empowered individual in general as it improves the way we perceive other people.