Don’t destroy yourself by allowing negative people to add gibberish and debris to your character, reputation, and aspirations. Keep all dreams alive but discreet so that those with unhealthy tongues won’t have any other option than to infest themselves with their own diseases.”Michael Bassey Johnson
The other day I was walking down the road with my friend after a park run. As we chatted happily and minded our own business, a man walked up to us and started hurling insults at us.
“You idiots! Why aint you wearing mask, you stupid bitches!”
We were stunned.
“What just happened?”
And before we could think of the next course of action, the man continued:
“Return to your countries you stupid bitches!”
We both burst out laughing and continued on our way. The whole thing was too funny and sort of comical because the man looked like he had a hot metal rod between his buttocks.
It was an unprovoked attack. Neither me nor my friend knew or had ever seen the man, (FYI… my friend is British born and her family has lived in UK for several generations…. So not sure why that man decided we needed to return to our countries – I suppose in his mind any white person walking alongside a black person must be foreign too).
The greatest thing about this whole incident was that we didn’t react. We didn’t hurl insults at the man. We didn’t even tell him to fuck off… you know…. Britishism 101….. when you absolutely are lost for words, “fuck off” is usually the next logical step. Instinctively we refused to get tangled in his poison. We refused to bathe in his pool of negativity and hatred. He was probably hoping for retaliation just so he can take it to the next level, we refused to give him such power. His frustration was visible in his face. He muttered something as he walked away.
A few years ago, looking at me or my friend the wrong way was enough to having a few choice words hurled your way. I suppose this growth comes with experience and maturity, however, the most important thing is the realisation that it is not worth it to let people rent space in your head, especially if they use that space to fill it up with garbage, hatred, bias, and abuse of any kind.
Just because that man called us bitches and idiots doesn’t make us bitches and idiots and letting that ruin any part of our day is a stupid as believing when someone says they can fly.
It is not what people say about you to others or to your face, it is what you believe about yourself that gets under your skin. If you believe wholeheartedly that you are beautiful, no ‘ugly’ insults can raise self-doubts. You are assured in your belief. But as humans most times we become frustrated because of how others see us, or how they value us, and we let their idea of us fortify our insecurities and internal voices of doubt and we react. We react by returning fire, or by explaining why we are not what they think, or by justifying our beliefs. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
I read somewhere that if you treat everyone you meet as if they were the most important person on earth the world would be a much nicer place, i.e. if everyone treated everyone as if they were the most important person on earth.
No one can control what people think and say to you or about you, but absolutely everyone can control how they react to whatever is said or done. This means not letting people rent space in your head with garbage and vitriolic behaviour towards you. You have absolute power as to what occupies your head space. And because some humans’ joy comes from insulting others and putting others down and because you can’t block your ears 24/7 not hear garbage, adopt the Teflon mindset. Hear things as much as they are said to you or around you but be choosy in deciding what sticks, let others just slip away like a fried egg on a Teflon frying pan.
This is what I have learnt:
Absolutely do not take things personally – there will always be something about you that someone doesn’t like. Taking things personally means reacting to the same energy as your aggressor and that is victory for them.
Don’t waste precious time and/or energy trying to understand or rationalise their behaviour – that is their problem. By all means be compassionate and understanding but not to the extent that it costs you happiness and joy.
If you find yourself tangled up in negative space e.g. at work or home with people you can’t always avoid, separate yourself from the situation. Sometimes smiling might brighten someone’s moment. Smile as you walk away.
When a negative person presents as a challenge or a threat, the natural instinct is to self-preserve which without thought is impulsive and confrontational. Sometimes you must fight natural innate instincts and be the mature one and take the high road.
Do not judge – there are millions of people walking the earth with unfathomable issues and everyone is a target. You can only control what you can control.
Be realistic. Be kind. Be humble.
As Andrew Carnegie once said: “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men (people) say, I just watch what they do.”
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Photo credit: Eleanor Jane – pexels