Today I got more than irritated, I got fucking angry. The details of which seem irrelevant now compared to the insight I gained, but the quick version is that in my attempt to be flexible and understanding to someone else’s position I ended up getting shafted.
Now as you already know, I feel pretty strongly about maintaining the clarity of mind to gauge how big of a deal something is and respond accordingly. I also have personally done a lot of work to instinctively seek out a forward moving/positive outlook when the view is otherwise dismal and utilize my ability to adjust my perspectives in order to see a solution in challenging circumstances. To put it simply, most of the times that I find myself faced with a dilemma I don’t mind to bend a bit if it means everybody feels good in the end. This is different than being a push over when you genuinely don’t mind to adjust, but today when I was basically told in twice as many words ” thanks for understanding why you can’t, but they can. I know it sucks to always be the bigger person, but it’s just easier this way.” My initial response was to say okay and move on because arguing rarely seems worth it to me and being considered the bigger person should be a compliment, but as the day wore on I just couldn’t shake feeling taken advantage of. Then it occurred to me.
Being the bigger person does not mean you’ve got to take it in the ass.
This is a politically incorrect way of saying it, but it seems that being the bigger person is often confused with having to compromise yourself, settling for less, be treated unfairly and ultimately being left without a voice in the matter. What a grotesque misunderstanding of a phrase that should be used to describe someone with integrity, self awareness and leadership.
Now I am not gonna lie, when I realized that I was getting screwed all because I was voted less likely to cause a problem, cause a problem was all I wanted to do. I was ready to go back, teeth out and guns cocked, but knowing that the only relevant thing that I would have to say would be “you know, I got to thinking and it occurred to me that YOU SHOULD FUCK OFF” thus nullifying that stuff I said about clarity of mind and dignity, I instead took a moment to think about what being the bigger person actually meant to me, something I am not sure I’ve ever done, but what I concluded helped me to see that it’s less about being “the” bigger person and more about being “a” bigger person in general and gave me a good bit of motivation to keep these values alive in everything I do.
Being a bigger person means having enough self control to not react in haste. To maintain your dignity and live with integrity. Being a bigger person means having strong conviction but little need to argue about it. It’s less about making sacrifices and more about just not taking more than you need. It means giving other people room to be themselves without sacrificing yourself, making decisions in loving kindness, seeking out solutions that are best for everyone involved, and understanding the balance of give and take.You don’t have to be an asshole in order to stand up for yourself and you should never have to feel devalued in order to make it “easier” for someone else.
I thought this over a few times and looked down at my hands. Those are the words I have tattooed on my knuckles. Give.Take.
So I did go back, minus the teeth, guns and “fuck off” part and calmly and clearly stated (also in twice as many words) that I did not agree with how the situation had been handled. This opened up the door for a discussion that led into an incredible conversation that left me feeling like I really was a bigger person and a better person for having taken the time to do it right.
So next time you feel like you should “be the bigger person” make sure you do so by staying true to yourself and not just giving in.