I am upset. At this moment, as I sit here typing this up, I am truly upset. Something happened a little while ago. I got into an argument and I am now reaping the results of that. It’s a true bounty of results, I can tell you. Let’s see…anger, frustration, shame, disgust…then more anger and guilt at the fact that I have allowed myself to get angry and frustrated. All of this is confusing. It’s a form of madness (no offence intended). I think what’s worse is that it is quite normal for most people.
So, as I sit here and stew, let us see if we can work this all out. Where does all this negative emotion come from? Well, obviously from the thing that was said to me. The person I had the “conversation” with spoke words. These words were taken by my mind, analysed, and a proper “reaction” was produced based on the result of the analysis. No matter how deep we go into human psychology and the workings of the mind; that really is the simple description of what happened. That’s all we need to concern ourselves with. We can keep it simple, and then try a simple approach to addressing the problem.
The problem is whatever the person said. Words…Just words. How can words have such a powerful effect? The answer is that they don’t. What has the effect is the power we give those words…our rating of them…our belief in them. So if someone calls you an idiot, you might be offended. Why? I mean you know you are not an idiot. Most likely the person knows it too. Why the negative response? Why can’t you ignore it? Well, because you are wired that way. You can’t stand to see that anyone would say you were an idiot. It is not enough that you know you’re not an idiot. You need this person to acknowledge that as well. And what’s wrong with that? I think it’s natural for us to want other people recognize the message we are trying to convey by our words or actions (whether or not the message is true or false). Sadly, no matter what we do, there are people who will always interpret things how they choose. Basically, no matter how much you show James how much of a genius you are, James (Sorry if your name is James) will still call you an idiot, and probably feel he is better than you.
It’s absurd! James isn’t better than you are. No one is. You have to remember that. Know thyself. Derive your strength from that. What do you do about those who refuse to accept your side of the story? Leave them. Ignore them. Walk away after putting your point across. But don’t get drawn in. I am not going to get overly religious on you, but I want to make a point. Jesus Christ said “Turn the other cheek”. I think people misinterpret that as a sign of passivity; of a desire to avoid confrontation; even of weakness. I disagree. I think it is an act of someone who is so powerfully aware of their own inner strength and value that they there is nothing you could do to take that away. Abuse me, torture me and kill me, yes. But you will never change the truth. People who can deal with the hurtful utterances of others go very far because they don’t allow these words get to them. Put in another way, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. There’s a bit missing there. That bit is “…unless I allow them”. It’s in your power to choose your reaction to what others say or do. Believe in yourself, first and foremost. You will be able to withstand negativity from others without being unnecessarily hurt by it.
Just remembering this principle of faith in oneself is enough to make my anger and frustration start to dissipate. I can feel it evaporating slowly as I finish this article. Happy days! I shall leave you with a quote made by Marcus Aurelius almost 2000 years ago…”If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment”.