When you think about the people who have touched you and made your life better what do think of?
I would bet it is for a positive reason. Nobody ever says someone made their life better by being unkind to them. I try to remember this in my dealings with others. I'm not always kind and I have conflicts with others just like everyone else, but I try to be conscious and aware of the thoughts and feelings I have towards others. It can be especially difficult when that someone is being unkind or nasty towards you, when they are purposefully undermining your efforts, or abusive in any way. Oh, it can be so difficult to turn the other cheek! It can be done though.
I have finally reached a point in my life where I can disassociate myself from those kinds of people and hurtful attacks towards me personally. Believe me, it isn't easy, but doing so makes my life so much better. I have found a little trick that always helps me to overcome these incidents before I reach the critical mass point with my anger. This is what I do:
I think about the people in my life who have built me up. That's right. I remember, one by one, each person who has touched my life for good. When I think of these times it isn't life-altering events that come to mind. It's the youth leader who listened to me at youth camp when I was thirteen and felt left out, who put her arm around me and told me I was special and who always said hello to me whenever she saw me. (Her name was Carol.) It was a note of appreciation from an acquaintance. It was the phone call to ask me how I've been because that person was worried about me. It was the vote of confidence from someone who said, "You can do it! I believe in you!" Each and every kindness offered to me as gifts, over time, amassing into one large treasure. And every time I find myself in a situation where my ability or character are attacked I open up the vault and ponder on the treasure that is there. Then I remember some wise advice given by a grand lady:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt
I don't always win the battle, but I am winning the war. I try not to give anyone permission to make me feel inferior. It isn't always easy, but it can be done. It takes practice, positive self motivation, determination, courage, faith, and loving one's self. It can be done. It is the ability to not become offended.
And every time I find myself waning, I remember those people who have made a difference in my life. I tell myself that I will be like them and not like the person who is attacking me. I will not give my consent. I will treat others the way I want to be treated. I will take my turn and be that person who will make a difference for someone else. And then something miraculous always seems to take place. As I think about others and immerse myself in the service of others I always seem to forget about those nasty people who are out to make my life miserable. I end up not caring what they think or even what they've done. It just isn't important anymore.
I remind myself that the people who have touched my life for good, the one's who have made a real difference in my life were the people who were kind. It's as simple as that. Kindness. One little word, put into practice, can make a difference. I'm going to try harder to be kinder.