Every once in awhile I like to take some time and just assess how I think my life is going and today was one of those days. I do this on a weekend day when I don't have anything pressing to force me out of bed and when I can just relax and clear my mind and see what comes to the forefront. Today I started thinking about some of the most recent behaviors of other people whose fallout has had a negative impact on me and I was feeling not only very anxious about it but also very sad. I was thinking about why someone would make choices that would hurt another person and why they seem to think that such behavior is okay. But then I realized that the focus was in the wrong place. I could never know or understand why someone chooses to act in such a way so why should I even spend time on it. I needed to look at myself to understand what was happening to me as a result.
I know better. I know that everyone does the best that they can based upon what they have been taught and what has been successfully incorporated into their lives in the past. I know that although I may be the target of their latest rages or bad behavior of any type, I have done absolutely nothing that would make such treatment acceptable. I know that however someone chooses to act is their decision and choice but regardless of how much power they may have over me, they cannot take away my own power unless I allow them to do so. I understand that in the moment I may be upset and feeling overwhelmed and disrespected, but that does not give me the right to respond in a similar manner to the bad behavior of another.
The best thing I can do in the moment is to do nothing and remove myself from the situation as soon as possible. And rather than spending time in feeling badly about myself, I need to understand that I am wasting good energy on bad behavior if I take responsibility for being the one who was attacked. I need to remind myself that I would never behave that way toward someone else and that it is okay to just let go of the situation. There is no need for retaliation or seeking of an apology. It is something that happened in the past and it is over and done and it deserves no further consideration in my life.
But most of all, if I truly am going be able to move on, I must let go of the situation and forgive the other person. I know this, and while I understand it on some level, that doesn't make it an easy thing to do. So what I try to do is get to the point of letting go and moving on sooner each time something negative like that happens. Then when I find myself alone and in a quiet place, I focus on what happened and give myself permission to appreciate what a state of mind a person must be in in order to act that way and to forgive them and know that the next time that I see that person, I will conduct myself with all the dignity that I have and respect the other person as I would want to be respected myself. And at the end of the day, I know that by letting go and moving on, I will feel so much better about myself than I ever would if I had retaliated or challenged the other person in the moment. And maybe, just maybe, the other person will have at least a thoughtful moment about their own actions and find a way to also let go of such behavior in the future.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more