Put Downs and Insults

CactusSpeaking ill, disrespectful or hurtful to others; intending to humiliate or embarrass

People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes. Abigail Van Buren

The most effective answer to an insult is silence. Author Unknown

It is often better not to see an insult than to avenge it. Seneca   

   Those who issue insults to others without any second thoughts have character issues, personality flaws, and have not advanced sufficiently in their personal growth. There is something lacking; something wrong inside, wires are crossed. Self-respect and self-esteem issues are usually at the core of their need for putting down and insulting others. It gives them a perceived sense of dominance, power or importance.

     We all slip on occasion, lose our cool, think or say things that are out of character. Someone rubs us the wrong way; we have a bad day; any number of things can go wrong causing us to momentarily slip and say things that hurt or insult. As long as we instantly regret it, that is one thing. If we have no regrets, it is quite another thing and considerably more serious.

    The mature and emotionally well balanced individual is capable of resisting the need to lash out, either in retaliation for something said or done, out of frustration, or from a moment of emotional and mental weakness. The more mature have disciplined thought processes preventing them from automatically responding in kind to insults and put downs. There is a built in delay that gives them time to think before they speak or act. They have developed self-control that gives them awareness before they respond. They are able to consider the source of their insults or irritations. More times than not, the person issuing put downs does not warrant any response. Retaliation is not worth losing self-control or damaging one’s own character by slipping to the same level. Other times, the mature person realizes the other person is having a bad day, is emotionally out of sorts, and is probably saying something they will regret on their own.

     How we respond boils down to a stimulus and response issue. Someone provides the stimulus, an insult or put down. It falls on us to decide how to respond. We should be in control of our emotions. The more mature we are, the more we will think through what has happened and resist lashing out. We are able to walk away, remain silent or even say something kind. A put down or an insult only has the power we allow it to have. It does not offend or hurt us unless we allow it to. Remember the old saying about sticks and stones and words.

Challenge: You are not responsible for the actions of others unless they are your children. You are only responsible for your own actions. The maladjusted and the immature lash out, issuing insults and put downs. Mature and well-balanced individuals seek to grow past the need for verbal nastiness. Where are you? Do you have this kind of control of your thought and actions? You are responsible and accountable.  

Wisdom: A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation. Moliere  

Spiritual: (NIV)

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more I knowledge and depth of insight. Phil.1:9

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge. 2 Pt 1:5

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

Love is at the heart of so many things. If we have love in our hearts, we are able to resist the temptation to insult and put down others. With love in our hearts, we want to build up others, not tear them down. It is hard to have love in our hearts if we do not love ourselves. The path to personal growth and development depends upon a healthy concept of self-love. Healthy self-love is something best provided by God’s loving guidance and help.

Prayer: Help me to learn to love. Help me to understand your love for me and what it means.

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