Be the Bigger Person?
We’re always told to “be the bigger person”, in the face of confrontation, because 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, however there are 4 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 really 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 a few things. The situation, whether it’s the person’s first vs. 5th time slighting us, and how we internalize the situation, after we walk away from it. Yes, we may feel like Namaste ninjas in the moment. Observers may admire our ability to keep it together, while someone’s pushing our buttons. Those aren’t the vibes that count. The vibes that count, are the ones that stick with us in the aftermath. Those are the vibes that lay heavy on our subconsciousness, adversely affecting our self-awareness. They hold the weight of how we define ourselves.
If after walking away, (wearing your lovely Namaste crown), you replay what you would have, or should have said or done, you leave one situation resolved, while creating a new situation, (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 in our lives doesn’t respect our boundaries, we often acknowledge their behavioral shortcomings, offering 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 handy self-care tools, even helping me finally end an 11 year relationship with a narcissist, (you can read about the relationship lie, that keeps us in toxic relationships here).
Always taking the high-road for the sake of friendships or relationships, is sure to put you on the fast-track, to being walked all over. Are you always sacrificing your needs, to care for an aging/sick relative, (while your siblings seem to skirt responsibility, even guilt tripping you, when you ask for help)? Maybe your girlfriend seems to always have money for her own wants, but cries broke, asking you to spot her when you go out. “Oh my siblings have their own kids to worry about”, can become a 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: Keeping the Peace, While Brewing With Rage
When someone is violating a principle that you feel strongly about, being the “bigger person,” becomes more difficult. Someone who can offend your sensibilities deeply, (not like forgetting to put the toilet paper on the roll), and expects you to just deal with it, doesn’t inspire the thought that they’re worth giving up what’s important. There’s a hefty price we pay, when we sacrifice what we hold dear to our hearts, in order 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 in ongoing relationships, the timer begins to tick, on an inevitable explosion.
Reason #4: We Loose Our Own Trust
As domestic abuse survivor, this last reason registers as the most important 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 type of reward. We lose our own 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 trust ourselves.
I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion, as many will suggest that I sound like I’m defending human Ego. There are those that will insist that Namaste, and “Nope, Not Today”, (hand out saying stop), can’t coexist, but I find great success in embracing both, (allowing my self-awareness, to guide each situation). What are your thoughts?