The Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose in 1796, contains the phrase, “He cut off his nose to be revenged of his face.” It refers to the act of injuring one’s self to harm
someone else. The phrase has evolved into the warning, Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, which sums up one of the greatest challenges of influence—trying to offer helpful solutions to someone who seems bent on taking the path that is most harmful to themselves. Indeed, it is frustrating to try to influence a good outcome when the other person is clearly incapable of understanding that you are only thinking of what is
best for them. If only everyone else would just trust that we have their best interests at heart.
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