Responding to Unkindness (shortest post in blogging history)

I used to embody the Groucho Marx quote: I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. The confidence meter was low, but whatever I lacked in confidence, I made up for in moxie, you know, the kamikaze sort. I drove a motorcycle when I was twelve, competed in sports, including football. I applied for jobs I wasn't qualified for.

I still muster courage, whether or not the confidence is there, and, at times, even when I fear I'm unqualified. I try to live as close as possible to the credos: Work for it and take a shot. Live and let live. Say what you mean, but don't say it mean.

I write, but I get it: I'm not Ernest Hemingway (otherwise I'd be writing drunk and editing sober.) But now and then I meet the person who believes that I need to be brought down a few rungs -- just in case. And if I don't see it coming, it hit its mark. If it's by somebody that I'm not expecting it from, I field it by changing the subject (look at the birdy!) or glossing it over or minimizing it, like The Black Knight in the Monty Python clip: "It's just a flesh wound!"

Often the exchanges I find the most impossible to believe are the most unmistakeable. I permit clarity to be clouded by my wish to turn unkind words or sarcasm into something better than they are. When denial occurs, the demeaning words or the unkindness is protected by the very person it's designed to hurt: me. And that's the next chronological knock of a person's self-esteem in that situation.

There's a slogan used in 12 step programs: “I” didn’t cause it, “I” can’t cure it, and “I” can’t control it.

If you're reading this and you're encountering somebody who's unkind to you, or mean-spirited, let those three statements liberate you. Remind yourself that it's their problem, not yours. Consider reaching out for help if it's ongoing. If you can, surrender thoughts of them in a prayer and return to your game, your job, your writing. Get back to being the best you possible!

"Letting go of negative people doesn't mean you hate them. It just means you love yourself."

                                                         -- Author unknown