THE BLOG

How Safe Are You From People Who Spew Hatred?

05/08/2015 10:14 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2016

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Photo by Greg Frucci, 2010

We've all been there... it is OK to admit the memory to yourself.

You begin your day with an open mind. You are peaceful. Perhaps like me, you meditated for a few minutes before going to work.

Out of the blue, you are approached by an angry human who throws hate bombs your way. You think to yourself, "You are a raving lunatic! If you don't stop soon, I'll slap you silly." You want to leave them in your dust as you run away.

Some folks believe they are entitled because of whatever they have achieved. You are beneath the altar upon which they have placed themselves. You just need to get over it while you worship them. You are pond scum in their superior minds. Perhaps they really think that way, perhaps not, but you are so angry back at them, you are ready for a fight.

Here's an idea: Offer up a cookie with some warm milk and a blanket so they will stop throwing a fit. On second thought, maybe try this instead:

The art of listening while being attacked.

Neither smile nor scowl and remain firm while giving nothing away. Flow with the moment. Inside, let the emotions rise, yet do not send anger towards the other. As your anger rises, think of the emotion of anger coming from the other. Do not think of the person, just the anger. Create a reason for their anger which is based upon a fear they have. Perhaps there is a death in the other's life and they fear being alone... you choose. Become the fear which creates their anger while they speak until the venting is complete.

Stop them in their tracks by telling a good story.

While telling a story, use words which will scare the other person. This will get their attention away from what scares them personally and begin to empathize with your fear. By telling your story, you are now engaging them, but you are taking them away from their pain for a moment so that they can see that their pain is very small.

How I took charge of a raving lunatic.

I work in a retail store. I happened to be walking down an aisle on a mission for a customer. A different customer stormed at me with her finger shaking while she was screaming, "This store is horrible! I hate being here. I have been here for over an hour trying to find a toilet seat I saw online and nobody is helping me. The website says you have three and I cannot find any of them. You are going to help me now or I am going to call your headquarters and get you fired! Oh, but you probably can't because your just some stupid slug who works in a hardware store! You're an adult, you should have a real job by now!" She went off on me for another 15 minutes while I stared into her raging eyes.

I really wanted to use the cookie line, but that would have definitely gotten me fired. I chose instead to imagine her losing a loved one. Her tears, as she raged on, gave me a clue. I would find out later as I walked with her, that she had lost her husband of 30 years just weeks before that day.

The other customer I was trying to help was behind me. She leaned into my ear and softly whispered, "Don't worry about me. Just come find me after you finish, I am not in a rush."

Most people are like the kind one behind me, yet my favorites are the ones who are stark raving mad. Those are the ones who help us all grow. I saw a chance to help change the way she looked at other humans.

I told her the true story of how I once was alone far out to sea in a small sailboat where I had to battle a tropical storm. I described the event in detail while her eyes got big. I could feel her fear.

She looked down at the toilet seat I found for her while I told the story. A child-like whisper came from her. "This toilet seat is really no big deal, huh?"

Do you really wish to become dead to another person?

Sometimes, walking away saves us from irritation and pain. Even humans we once considered friends become toxic for us upon reflection, so we cut them out of our lives. Perhaps we disappear for a while in order to gain distance, but everyone needs love. Perhaps you grow in the process of departure for a time, then are able to send some love back through your heart and words without being totally dead to them. Strangers who walk into our lives are not a different species. They are the same as the loved ones in our lives.

Imagine how you will feel when you turn the Angel of Death who just spewed hate on you into someone who goes out into the world and makes someone's day.

Create such joy in them that they feel compelled to thank you with tears in their eyes. You make their day which in turn will create the best day of your life! You thought it was going to absolutely suck at first, but through your kind way, you created an Angel of Life.

Tell an angry human a story about a challenge you faced. Suck them in. Create a cheerleader, witnessing them fly away doing the same for another. Victory shall be yours... and theirs. Everyone wins while you stand firmly in your power. Those who were seemingly crazy to you will vanish into the blue.