My people have a proverb: you can’t be angry at someone who is absent.

I recently marked my birthday on April 13. Some of my friends were around to celebrate with me in only the second-ever birthday I got a cake. I also received a lot of wishes via calls, texts and social media from my friends, colleagues, family and other well-wishers including some of the esteemed readers of this newsletter.

The outpour of love was so much that the other thing I’m most grateful for after my life is the inestimable gift of good people. I almost cried at such a huge display of love for me alone. I was overwhelmed by the gifts, care and concern.

Yet some of my most beloved individuals didn’t reach out to me till the end of that day. Some reached out in the days after when they remembered or after I had reminded them during our conversation afterward. Some are yet to reach out even as at the time of writing.

Despite the massive love and wishes I received, I could not but think about those few people I was expecting to receive their wishes that never came. I was miffed because I felt forgotten and abandoned. Anger got the better of me.

I began to wonder if I and my relationship with them were so insignificant.

So, I recently got speaking with one such person, a very close friend. Guess what I found: While I was nursing a fit of anger against her perceived slight, she was nursing an illness. While I cared only about my little feelings, she was battling for dear life.

I’m sure you’ve been in such a scenario too, where you felt someone offended you on purpose, only to find out they were dealing with their own problems―serious problems that dwarf your little selfish feelings. We’ve all been there.

Yes, sometimes people offend you on purpose. But instead of always assuming the worst of people’s actions or lack of it thereof, don’t you think it’s better to first consider delaying your judgement to find out the reason behind their actions or lack of it thereof?

They may be overwhelmed with work, processing a trauma, fighting for dear life, distracted by an unexpected life change, needing some silence and space, tired of putting on a happy face or even putting some boundaries in place. You never can tell what the problem is.

So, instead of focusing, like I did, on those messages that never came, consider savouring those ones you received. Instead of being angry at those who didn’t show up, reach out to them and find out why. Stop assuming. This takes us back to my introductory adage.

Resist the urge to be unnecessarily petty. Rise above your trivial, selfish feelings. Share on X Pick up your phone now and reach out to that person you are holding a grudge against even when you have not heard their side of the story. Do better henceforth. Share on X

Meanwhile, one of my friends finally made a guest post on my blog after several weeks of asking. Read her piece on how to stop being passive and start achieving your goals. You can also read my full review of Atomic Habits.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. Let me know if you wish to guest post on my blog. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends.