Being The Bigger Person And Respecting Disrespectful People

September 1, 2015  |  

It would be great if people always acted like they had some sense.  It would be amazing if all of your interactions with them were akin to that sing-songy Coca-Cola commercial from the ’70s.  However, the “real thing” is a lot less admirable, and instead of wanting to share a soda with some people, you might want to share a couple of choice words and insults.

In a world of billions of people, we find ourselves swimming in a sea of anger, aggravation, and disrespect while occasionally wading in the depths of happiness, joy, and respect from some people.  So, how do you handle all of it?  How do you stand strong for yourself, but let a person know that you don’t appreciate their behavior?

I wish that I could say that there was an easy solution to this; but in all honesty, there isn’t.  There are people who are going to work your nerves and make you occasionally lose faith in the human race.  The most aggravating times are when they are people who you need at a given time, like the person over the gym’s daycare who is responsible for watching your child while you work out.  Or the family member who you’re staying with while you get your life back together who insults you and makes it seem as though your feelings aren’t valid.

During these times, you might be faced with feelings of helplessness, but in all honesty, you have more power in this situation than you realize.  Though you can’t control other people’s behavior, you can always control your actions toward them.

Something I have to remind myself of, at all times, is that everyone deserves respect.  My belief is that as a walking-talking human, as long as you’re not blatantly racist and hateful, I’m going to treat you with the same respect that I expect when our paths cross.

But at the same time, there are instances where I’m not given that same courtesy, and then I realize that I’m faced with a series of decisions: either address it or ignore it.

The important thing to remember is that in life, each day, you’re faced with a series of battles. It’s up to you to decide which ones you are willing to fight, and what you hope will come from it.

Is it worth getting your gym membership revoked and finding yourself in real trouble for threatening the teenage girl who rolls her eyes when you bring your child in?  Did you really feel good about yourself when you let the minimum-wage cashier at the store know his place when he carelessly tossed your melons in the bag?  Are you willing to become a nomad to set your family member straight?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should become a doormat. I’m saying that in all struggles and moments of life, adding a little respect definitely goes a long way.  You can properly address a person and their behavior if it’s something that you feel needs to be discussed. You can also ignore it, and feel determined not to let their sad display of behavior ruin your day.  Either way that you go, your respect is maintained while they have to continue to live the miserable lives that they have.

Through all of this, always remember that from afar, it’s hard to tell who’s a fool when two people are fussing at each other.  A calm, respectful conversation might not solve each problem, but it will draw a clear line of how you expect to be treated and vice versa.

That battle can be won if you’re willing to fight for it.  It’s just the way you go to war that’s going to determine whether you win or lose.

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