Recently, someone told one of my relatives that she was “negative.” Instead of being offended by these words, my kin said, “This person calling me ‘negative’ is really saying more about herself than she is about me. She is trying to project her feelings about herself onto me. Luckily, I know who I am, so her words have no effect on me.”
Throughout life, we all must face the opinions of others. We all must realize that not everyone is going to like us or be kind to us. As performer Dita Von Teese has been quoted as saying, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Some people can and do use their words simply to bring sadness and hurt. When they are not able to have a healthy adult dialogue, their tongues turn into swords. They think that belittling and insulting people is fine; luckily, they are wrong. The important thing, though, is to remember that no matter what anyone thinks of you, the most important thing is what you think of yourself. No one else’s opinion should be able to affect you if you have already fortified yourself with self-awareness and self-love. Someone who is self-aware and self-loving will not use his or her words to personally attack or bring anyone down. We must not forget that arguing with a fool makes it hard to tell who is who, so instead of attacking someone, it is important to realize why that person is attacking you and to react in a way that is indicative of your intelligence and wisdom (and good home training).
This incident reminded me of the advice given in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The four agreements are (1) Be Impeccable with Your Word, (2) Don’t Take Anything Personally, (3) Don’t Make Assumptions, and (4) Always Do Your Best. The following is a brief explanation of the four agreements and is excerpted from Mr. Ruiz’s timeless classic:
So when someone comes hurling negative insults your way, you have a choice to make. Will you get down in the mud with that person and come out just as dirty? Or will you, instead, be understanding and wise and respond with kindness and love?