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People can only have power over you if you are seeking to have power over others. You are only plagued with stress in moments of common petty conflict because you are arrogant, and believe others are transgressing by having unfavorable thoughts about you. Another person’s thoughts about you are outside of your jurisdiction; you have no authority. You have fantasies about you being right, and about them being wrong, or that there is an injustice or an attack. Sometimes a perceived attack can seem very real, when it is really just your insistence or resistance.
When someone is attacking you, they are coming to you for advice. How you react advises them.
When someone is attacking you, they are coming to you for advice. How you react advises them. What advice will you give them? They likely may not know they are seeking advice, but you advise them nonetheless. You can teach an attacker many things through your response. Your boundaries may teach them they are not permitted to treat you disrespectfully. Your permissiveness may teach them to continue hurting you. Your calm and wise response may make sense to them many years later as they grow and heal. Perhaps your example will be steps in their ascension to respect and virtue. Has anyone ever helped you in your ascension to virtue? Perhaps you have been cruel or said something mean and someone responded to your attack with kindness or calm, which later caused you to feel bad or ashamed about your actions. That was someone giving advice to their attacker — you.
When you wrestle with foolish people, you tie them tighter into the knot of their ignorance, hate and disrespect.
When you wrestle with foolish people, you tie them tighter into the knot of their ignorance, hate and disrespect. But kindness and openness create an atmosphere where people feel safe to learn and change without judgement. Kindness teaches kindness; self-respect teaches self-respect. This is part of the meaning of “actions speak louder than words” or “leading by example.” You are instructing everyone at every moment with your every action; in this way we are all role models. You are much more than merely a response to external stimuli.
People not only learn from what you say, but how you say it.
By choosing to have a calm response to what seems negative, you bring clarity and balance to your message. People not only learn from what you say, but how you say it. Each reaction we have helps us inspect ourselves by revealing parts of our own nature to ourselves; it is never about others. And remember, when you are speaking to someone else you are really speaking only to yourself. Everything you say to someone else is for your clarity, not theirs — you are presenting yourself, to yourself, for yourself at every moment.