The way I see it, when you come across someone that is so overwhelmingly offensive, shaming, or ridiculing (in both loud and quiet ways), you have two choices:
- Run away, scared, sad, and hurt. Internalize all of those awful things that person said about you, burying them down deep and permitting those words to define how you understand yourself.
- Get really, quite angry. Yell or throw things.
- Check out the source – and make the decision to dig deep, acknowledge where the other person might be coming from, and approach them with relentless compassion.
An unfortunate truth is that we cannot control other people’s actions, but we can control how we let those actions make us feel. We can choose to ignore them. We can fight back. We can choose to fight back by continuing to live our lives with as much dignity and grace that we can muster.
I want to underscore the fact that some people are jerks and they don’t truly deserve your time or energy. You don’t actually need to let them know that you’re approaching them with relentless compassion, but YOU are a gorgeous, amazing, talented, loving creature and you do not deserve to be mired with all that nastiness of grudge-holding or sludging up your veins with resentment.
As adults, we have the distinct pleasure of deciding HOW we allow others to let us feel. We decide what we hold on to. We decide what we weave into our own personal narratives. We decide who and what belongs in our life.
But most importantly – we decide who we have compassion for.
We get to decide who to forgive and move on.