I consider myself a resilient person, and someone who does not take offense to the majority of thoughts, words, and actions that pass me by each day. Words are just that – words. Letters strewn together, definition provided only by the recipient. The words, the feelings of others are their own personal property. If the other person is in a bad place, or is scarred by his or her past (and cannot, or refuses to, get past it), their words tend to be laced with acid and tiny barbs meant to inflict harm on innocent bystanders. Their goal is to make you feel inferior to them, to feel as bad as they do. In today’s 24/7 connection to the internet, this could mean the fury can come from all angles, every new page you click on. But before getting yourself too worked up over comments made online, ask yourself, “Is it worth me getting stressed over the comments made by this stranger (or “friend” from high school)?” It isn’t. It never is. Take the high road and refuse to engage in their ugly banter. Turn off the computer. Walk away – it is your choice, your obligation to yourself to maintain your serenity and well-being.
But what if the words come from someone you love, or care for deeply? I admit, I struggle with this a bit. Communication is key, but as an introvert I rarely feel the energy to initiate the conversation to the offending person. I realize this solves nothing. The only thing it does is build up the resentment within me until I can’t stand it anymore and then I simply withdraw altogether. I go so deep within my own mind that I begin to create scenarios of possible outcomes to the situation: cut the person out of my life, get a divorce, move away from everyone. I start to convince myself that the person will never change, so why bother even starting a conversation on how their words affect me? I mean, don’t they realize what a dick they’re being when they open their mouth? No, not always. And none of this is helpful to either side. The key again, is communication.
But how? My preferred way to start a difficult conversation is to first make sure we’re in a neutral setting (go for a walk, to a park, etc.) and I have the other person’s full, complete attention (no cell phones!). Refrain from being accusatory and stick to explaining how hurtful he/she has been towards you (as many experts will advise, use “I” instead of “You” so the person doesn’t feel like they’re being attacked). Let them talk. Can a positive reconciliation be made? Perhaps not always, but I believe if the relationship is important it’s worth trying to sort things through. The toughest part is knowing when to walk away. Maybe the other person doesn’t see a problem with their behavior, or, agrees to be nicer, to change, yet doesn’t follow through. Walking away is hard, period. My hope is this doesn’t have to happen, that compassion and love prevail.
Peace, love, and happiness always.