Can insulting or abusing others increase our status or position in any institution or society at large? What should be done to keep ourselves away from such situations?
I opine, a person who insults others or pulls others down on silly pretext to prove a point or showcase his/her superiority is out-and-out an inferior person. Instead of elevating his/her social position in society at large, one would eventually find such person increasingly isolated due to his/her despicable and uncalled for behavior. While living in the society, we’ve to adopt all the social etiquettes, social mores of behavior, adjust with the environs in which we are living. If we are a single person and living in an isolated island, then we’re free to move or act in a manner we want. But It should never be forgotten that we’re what others think about us not the other way around. A fastidious or arrogant person can browbeat us for sometime but his writ will not last for long. Weirdness in behavior is bad for the person concerned too.
Let us begin by thinking about the various kinds of insults that are which are showered on us.
- Direct or Indirect verbal Insults. There are, of course, verbal insults, which can be either direct or more commonly, indirect. Examples of indirect verbal insults are jokes and tongue in cheek like comments, backhanded compliments, imitation, and exaggerated praise while nothing is warranted.
- Indirect Insults through different expressions. We can read or decipher coming insults from facial expressions, accent in speech, unjustified smile or raised eye brow etc could point out the indirect insult, Then there are much more obviously physical insults such as hitting, slapping, or spitting.
- Cold shouldering or Cold Behaviour. When somebody is avoiding us and not recognizing our potential or worse still, they do not recognize our existence! This is worst kind of insinuation that a person could be subjected to. Incidents of this nature take place in our offices. The superior officers castigate their subordinates sometimes without any perceptible reason. The incidences like; avoiding contact with them, not calling for their assistance when required, lowering their self esteem in front of others, studiously not making eye contact etc. The end result is: demoting such persons despite being proficient in their jobs, This has worst implications for the person concerned since he/she loses self confidence and may be self esteem also after sometimes. How long somebody can put up with such insults?
- Irrational Criticism. Healthy criticism does a world of good to us since we learn from our mistakes by improving on the subject matter we need improvement. But when it comes to irrational criticism i.e. when none is warranted or exaggerated criticism by which person concerned may lose his/her self confidence or self esteem is bad.
- Insults hurled by our relatives. We’ve examples of mother-in-laws insulting newly married daughter-in-law – causes may be’ bringing less dowry or any other concocted cause(s) / reason(s) making the life of the newly wed difficult. Many suicide cases have resulted due to these undue insults. I came across two cases of such abuses by the in-laws. I came across two cases of two hapless girls (aged between 25-30 years) to admit their children to the school with Court strictures that their children should not be allowed to meet their respective father, mother-in-law or any other in-law relations since these girls were tormented and forced to take Court’s protection for their safety and security.
- Insult of old parents. We’ve examples of abuse of old parents by their own, now grown up and financial affluent offspring. It is really a crying shame since these parents have given their children everything while they required their assistance, now these aged parents require somebody to take care of them. Such instults to the parents have become a commonplace thing.
So, what is the best way to deal with any or all of these insults?
- No anger – Anger is no solution to insult. This is the weakest possible natural response. It shows that we are taking the person who insults us very seriously and that is why we are provoked. Also, seemingly it also shows that there may be some truth for the insult to be hurled on us. And finally it causes pain to us that is why we get angry. But this anger is not good for us. We ought to analyse as to why we’re being pulled up or sullied and take a principled stand when required. No more anger because it does not solve any problem but it makes the matter more complex.
- Acceptance sometimes may be best course of action. When somebody insults us, we should think whether the person concerned is right in insulting us. May be fault lies with us. Here accepting the fault and amending ourselves is the right course. Also, we’ve to examine the source of our insult. If the person concerned is reasonably correct then apportioning the blame for our insult is the better course of action. Here taking offence may jeopardize our position.
Personally, I respect the person who insulted or criticize me, I ought to give thought to the reason of insult or criticism and learn as much as I can from this positive criticism. On the other hand, if I think that the person who insulted me is not worthy then I take as though that person does not exist for me. I just disconnect. I may be wrong, but this has helped me in having self esteem besides providing an opportunity to tackle any situation that may arise. Clearly resorting to offense is not my cup of tea.
We come across people who pull others down in order to prove their superiority over others. This is more so In our offices. The subordinates are treated as if they are more for browbeating and fodders for proving their superiority of their superiors than anything else. Also, criticism when used negatively tantamount to be an abuse which should always be handled with care and caution lest it impacts our self confidence.
3. Others’ needs should never be ignored. Think about what the other person wants. People don’t start fights for no reason. Think about what they’re hoping to get from you. Are they trying to intimidate you? Are they trying to make you look stupid / incompetent in front of others? Are they expecting you to cry or break down? Are they trying to start an argument? Think before you react since you don’t want to give them the satisfaction of making you upset.
4. Change as per the wishes of others provided it is possible. If I am in predicament and other party persists in insulting or downsizing me, I try to change to the extent possible i.e. which is permissible socially and ethically. Just think about the context of the point of difference for which difference has crept up. The person may be downsizing you realizing your vulnerability simply because he/she is in a position of authority. I think walking away from that situation is the best course of action provided this may not be construed as a weakness and more insinuations may follow. Otherwise situation may handled with dexterity. If you feel that you are mistaken, just accept that and amend your mistake. Arguments will not be a better solution. Better still would be; take the assistance of your well-wishers.
May be he/she does not want that you should not come in his/her way while that fellow is exerting his authority and in the process lowering your social status in front of others. Or worse still want to show off in front of his/her superiors or subordinate that he/she could do this if need be. This could be termed as muzzling the discontent in some cases and in others it could be showing off.
If it is not, then I just bid for time with the realization that with time things get settled. Secondly, acting as though that fellow does not exists in this world and whatever he/she tell or acts hardly matters for me. Thirdly, if that fellow still persists then it is better to talk straight and make him/her realize my point of view vis-à-vis the contentious point(s) for which there is difference of opinion (if at all there is one). Fourthly, if nothing comes out of the honest and sincere discussions then exercising my right as a citizen of a civilized country. Be on your own. Exert yourself and do which is beneficial to you; taking into cognizance pros and cons of disassociating with the person. Fifthly, if still nothing happens then finally, I will ask for my Creator’s assistance. Whatever is His bidding to me, I shall act accordingly no matter what is the consequence; with a view that His …..
If the situation warrants, just walk away from it all as though nothing has happened. Your opponent may want you to continue, as he/she is bent upon washing the dirty nelon in the public. Or just smile vaguely and excuse yourself.
We also observe sometimes that a person may use double meaning sentence or a phrase and if it seems bad we can point this out; if we think that has indirect inference for us puncturing our emotions. The other party may say. It was a joke and come clean about it all! This happens many a times.
Let people live their own life
- Having a healthy balance solves much of our problem. In other words, equanimity pays. One who keeps cool despite adverse situations comes out unscathed ultimately. Bhagwad Gita has rightly enunciated: To whom praise and insult are same, who is silent, content with anything, who is without a home, with unwavering mind, a person who is such a devotee is dear to me.
- Do not be judgemental and why cannot we be good to the people.
- Excuse yourself out of that situation turning your attention to something else.
- Responding to the insinuation / insult. In the first instance we should try to know as to why we are being pulled up. If mistake lies with us, we’ve to mend our way. If need be, seek the assistance of others, who could help you sort things out. If still nothing works, just ask the person who is insulting you what does he/she wants. If it is within your power and ethically corrct, the same could be done. If it is not ethically and socially correct then it should be told to the person as to why you are unable to comply giving plausible explanation warranted by situation.
- If need be just change the subject. This could be done while dealing with friends and in social gathering.
- Paying back in the same coin may not be good for us. Bible has rightly pronounced: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but on the contrary blessing; knowing that you are unto this called, that you should inherit a blessing.
- If somebody Insults our child on routine basis. The parents should never ignore the teasing or insults that is being hurled to their children routinely by others. Either problems has to be sorted out between the children, if not then with the interaction with the parents of the children, if still no solution is found out then the matter could be taken to the school for the intervention of concerned teachers for sorting out the problems. If still nothing works then? Taking this as a challenge, there are two courses left: either let the time element come into play or act in such a manner that the concerned children do not meet with each other. Taking out the child from the school should be the last resort.
If we want to insulate ourselves from insults then:-
- Never insult others.
- Be polite evern in hostile environs.
- Keep cool.
- Insult is sometimes beneficial – have experience about this aspect.
- When situation goes out of control just call the bluff but keeping full self composure.
It should never be forgotten that others too have self esteem, if we insult others, it may boomerang on us ultimately as how long SHOW OFF lasts?