I have a person in my life who really doesn’t like me. We’ve had a very negative relationship for some time, but because of people we mutually know, I can’t seem to escape him. At get-togethers, he baits me, usually by saying something judgemental or unkind. I feel I have to speak up, and because I’m usually right (or at least think I am!), he gets angry, which in turn makes me feel threatened… and it spirals down from there. I feel shaken for days after an encounter. Well, we had another get-together last week, and because of being open to All Things Are Possible, I saw things differently, more honestly. This is what I noticed:
His words and actions are specifically chosen to bait me, because we don’t just have a negative relationship. He actively and intensely dislikes me, so much so that I am the person he is most aware of when we are in the same room. When I saw that, it slowly dawned on me that I was the one in control of the situation – something I never would have guessed before. I realized that his entire satisfaction depended on me doing one thing: taking the bait.
So I’ve been thinking on that, on what to do, on what the possibilities are. At first, I thought there were two things I could do: either ignore the comments or speak up with integrity – but as I started to write things out, I realized a deeper truth.
It’s not the bait I need to worry about; it’s the trap – the bait is the comment itself, but the trap is the negative feelings. That’s what I need to avoid. Even truth can be spoken with the intention to do harm, to aggravate, to belittle. And when bait doesn’t trap you, it isn’t bait anymore. It’s a snack. 🙂
So the question isn’t: do I ignore the comment or speak up with integrity? The question is: can I be around this person without reacting to their malice? If I choose to remain silent when he baits me, can I still maintain my positive outlook? If I choose to enter the conversation, can I impose my own value system on it, instead of allowing his anger to dominate? To draw attention to Wayne Dyer’s quote, whether I choose to engage in the conversation or not, I must refuse to engage in the conflict.
So I don’t know if I’ll speak up or remain silent the next time, but really that’s irrelevant. What is very relevant is that I’m not trapped in a bitter mindset. I’m wondering now if inner strength is not shown by fighting against bullying, angry comments, but instead, by facing someone who has ill intent, seeing their motives clearly, and not only refusing to engage in the spite no matter how personal it gets, but act true to my own beliefs of respectful, kind interactions. In other words, instead of diving into the negativity, elevate the situation.
I know it sounds strange, but I’m almost looking forward to the next time I’m in the same room with him. I want to explore this more. I want to turn this negative into a positive. And I believe I can do it because for this year, All Things Are Possible.