Be the Bigger Person?
We’re always told to “be the bigger person,” in the face of confrontation. It shows class, maturity, and self-control (all admirable traits). But, for all of the sense, and good intent in that school of thought, there’s an ugly truth. There are times when being the bigger person, feels more like being a doormat. Not taking the high road, sounds counter-intuitive, to our karmic energy. This isn’t the case. If putting on a smile for appearances, or biting your tongue doesn’t feel right, it’s ok. Here are four reasons you shouldn’t always be the “bigger person.”
Reason #1: Taking the High Road, Often Leaves Us Feeling Low
Let’s talk about the vibes we’re putting out, (to make that ever-present Law of Attraction), work in our favor. We usually believe that in diffusing a situation, ( throwing ourselves onto the altar of moral sacrifice), we’re winning. Our vibes are on point. But, if we’re contorting ourselves to accommodate someone else’s rude, demeaning, shameful behavior, are we winning?
Is diffusing the situation with kindness, humor, (or worse yet, an apology of our own), really going to make the Universe smile upon us? It depends on the situation, and more importantly, how we internalize the case after we walk away from it.
Yes, we may feel like Namaste ninjas at the moment. Observers may admire our ability to keep it together, while someone’s pushing our buttons. Those momentary vibes aren’t the only ones that count. Our vibrations in the aftermath lay heavy on our subconsciousness. Those vibes can adversely affect our self-awareness. They hold the weight of how we define ourselves.
If walking away, (wearing your lovely Namaste crown), leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, you leave one situation resolved, while creating a new issue, (between you and your self). If, after taking stock, you realize that being the bigger person is making you feel more like a doormat, it’s time to rethink, (even ditch), the title of being the “bigger person.” Which vibe will get you closer to fulfillment, Namaste, or doormat?
Reason #2: You Set the Tone
An empowering fact is that we set the tone for how others treat us. We either stand with our mouths wide open (accepting what others feed us), or we draw clear red lines. What happens when a parent proclaims, “that’s enough, no cookies for you,” only to cave in, after tiring of their child’s tantrum? The child, (from the youngest of ages), quickly learns that boundaries are meaningless.
When it becomes evident that someone doesn’t respect our boundaries, we often offer a generic justification like “but she means well.” I’m guilty of hanging onto friendships and relationships that left me operating at an emotional or financial deficit. Once I realized that I’m in total control of what I allow, I began drawing strict red lines. My red lines became non-negotiable self-care tools. They empowered me to finally end an eleven relationship with a narcissist. (You can read about the relationship lie, that keeps us in toxic relationships here).
Taking the high-road for the sake of others or appearance puts you on the fast-track, to being walked all over. Do you sacrifice your needs caring for an aging parent, while siblings dodge responsibility? Maybe your girlfriend seems always to have money for her wants, but cries broke, asking you to spot her when you go out. “Oh my siblings have their kids to worry about,” can become convenient reasoning for their insensitivity to your needs. “Oh, she’s not good with managing her money, but is a blast to go out with,” can help you feel like always being stuck with the tab is OK. You must be able to sit with your feelings on a frequent and honest enough way, to understand how a lack of boundaries, is affecting you.
Reason #3: Reeling Within
When someone is violating a principle that you feel strongly about, being the “bigger person” becomes more difficult. There’s a hefty price we pay when we sacrifice what we hold dear to our hearts to keep the peace. Our self-talk rages at us. It makes all sorts of judgments about our backbone and self-respect. We also set the stage for resentment to brew. Continuing to accept the short end of the stick sets the timer on an inevitable explosion.
Reason #4: We Lose Our Trust
As a domestic abuse survivor, this last reason registers as the most crucial reason why we shouldn’t always be the bigger person in a confrontation. There’s something that happens when we sacrifice our true feelings, for any reward. We lose our trust. We get used to justifying others and questioning ourselves. “Maybe I overreacted”? “They lied, because they know I have a short fuse.” “I left them no choice.” We repeat the same stories to ourselves, casting ourselves as the villain, or the incompetent fool, who can’t be trusted. This characterization of ourselves becomes our truth. From here, we can be manipulated more easily, always trusting others, more than we believe ourselves.
I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion, as many will suggest that I sound like I’m defending the human Ego. Some will insist that Namaste, and “Nope, Not Today,” can’t coexist, but I find great success in embracing both, (allowing my self-awareness, to guide each situation). What are your thoughts?