Someone I was talking with the other day in regards to a person who had treated me poorly in public, commented to me that this person who had been rude and threatening towards me didn’t deserve or need an apology, or respect or kindness from me in this context.Â For me, giving someone an apology, or kindness, or respect, is not based on their ethics… it’s based on mine. It has nothing to do with their behavior, it has to do with my choice of how to conduct myself in life.Â For me, treating someone with kindness, dignity and respect, isn’t about them having earned it, or are deserving of it. It’s about myself, me deserving my own integrity and my own ethics. I owe it to myself to treat others well, regardless of their choices on how to treat me and others. Someone being rude, or cruel to me, doesn’t make me feel as if I then have the right to treat them poorly in response. I can feel bad that they’ve chosen to treat me poorly or respond disrespectfully, but I don’t base my behavior on the behavior of others, particularly the negative behavior of others. If anything, I often treat these people with additional kindness, a kind of compensatory politeness or respect.Â It’s not turning the other cheek, it’s not weakness, it’s not being a doormat. I can assert that I still feel my opinion is true and valid, and acknowledge their feelings as legitimate, but also acknowledge that I don’t agree with how they’ve chosen to respond to it and act on it. But, in terms of whether -I- am making an apology, I have to look to -my- behavior, not theirs. Someone else being in the wrong, does not necessarily put me in the right. If someone is hurtful or aggressive or threatening to me, whether its verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, overt, covert, etc. does not engage a desire in me to retaliate or treat them less than someone who has not done so. I will certainly do my best to avoid further conflict and confrontation with this person, but not at expense to myself or others, or my own integrity. I won’t treat someone else poorly because they’ve treated me poorly… two negatives really don’t make a positive. Hurting someone that hurts you… just causes more hurt. I’m a fixer, and if I can try to make it a win win situation, I will, but I won’t even it out by trying to make a lose lose situation… It would only make me more of a loser, not a winner. I will avoid putting myself in the position to be attacked or hurt by the other person again, I won’t ‘ignore’ it, but I won’t lessen my own standards of behavior on account of their actions. Does this person ‘deserve’ my kindness, dignity and respect? did they ‘earn’ it… that’s not the question for me. I deserve to be what I consider a good, kind, respectful person with dignity, it’s who I want to be, and what I want to do.Â It doesn’t feel right to me to be less than that to someone because they chose to be less than that to me, why should I let their negative choices in life make me less of a positive person.
Live in Love.