“Respond kindly to someone who is unkind to you.” ~Lori Deschene (from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges, January 15)
Growing up with an alcoholic father, I was often on the receiving end of his anger. As a child, I didn’t realize his behavior was a reflection of how he felt inside and wasn’t about me at all.
I thought he was angry because I wasn’t good enough or I had done something wrong. I felt like if I could just be perfect enough, maybe he would love me. I tried and tried, but trying to be perfect didn’t work.
As I got older, I learned to react to everyone around me. If someone was rude, I was rude back. If someone yelled at me, I yelled back. This harmed my relationships and caused a lot of isolation in my life.
I wanted to be alone because I felt like everyone hurt me. But, I discovered, that is not the answer.
It’s taken me years to realize that I’m responsible for my own behavior and can’t control others. I now focus on behaving with kindness to everyone and my relationships have improved as a result.
It’s not always easy, but the following tools have helped.
If someone triggers fear and anxiety, don’t respond until you are calm.