The Right Way to Handle Insults

If someone says something negative to you just once, you may ask yourself why he is doing so, and in your mind you would even curse him a few times. In so doing, you are creating a new account with him while settling an old one. When he came to return what you yourself previously gave to him, instead of accepting and depositing it, you cursed him several times. You are not able to tolerate even a single insult from him and yet you insult him several times over. Now how is the human intellect to reach such depths? Instead people gradually bind themselves deeper and deeper and increase the confusion.

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan has given numerous keys on how to respond to insults, let us have a look at them: 

  • When someone showers harsh abusive words on you, you need to be alert and avoid a clash with that person. Do not get into a dispute.
  • Try to understand their viewpoint. Why are they getting angry and hurling abusive words at you? Once you know the reason for their anger, then you will be able to calmly resolve the problem. Wait for the other person’s anger to calm down before approaching them. Then calmly discuss the matter and bring about a mutually accepted solution.
  • When someone insults you by shouting at you, they tend to repeat the same things over and over again. The trick is to figure out what they are trying to say behind all the excessive speech. Do not pay attention to their words, figure out what they want and act accordingly.
  • Instead of becoming emotional when someone insults you, remain calm and collected. If you react then you are just adding fuel to the fire. In the end the whole house will burn down and both of you will make a loss. Param Pujya Dadashri says, ‘It is a tremendous strength to be able to digest an insult.
  • Do not react instantly. Since you have been insulted your first instinct is to hurl abuses back. Don’t! Let the inner turmoil within you settle. Then approach the other person and pose your viewpoint. Share your part of the story with them, give them an explanation of why you did what you did. Then they might see things your way. This is how to respond to insults.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. At least the other person only used harsh words or verbal humiliation, they did not slap you, or for that matter stab you. This will dilute the severity of the harsh words.
  • Keep the understanding, that whatever is happening is a result of the karmas you had sown. It is not the other person’s fault for abusing you. They are merely helping you finish your karmas. This understanding will help you not get affected and experience suffering. Realize that, ‘I have done something wrong in my past life that is why I am getting abused in this life.’ He speaks to you in this way because the fault is your own. In doing so, he is liberating you from your mistake of your past life. You must not have any ill feeling towards him. On the contrary, you should be indebted to that person for freeing you from your karma and yet you behave with contempt towards him.

When someone insults you and your mind does not spoil for that person, then you have done penance. When such penance happens, energy of the Self manifests.

Inviting a Slap with Compensation

Consider yourself very fortunate if someone insults you or speaks ill of you. A few years ago I used to announce that anyone in need of money could come and give me a slap and I in return would pay him five hundred rupees. Everyone refused and said they could not do it. Where can you find someone willing to slap or insult you even if you were willing to pay them for it?  So people who are insulted frequently in their homes without having to pay for them, should consider themselves fortunate. As for myself, although I was willing to pay five hundred rupees, I was not as fortunate.

Before attaining spontaneous Self Realization, I used to insult and belittle myself because no one else would do it for me! Even though I was willing to pay to be insulted, no one would oblige me and that is why I had to do it myself. I used to tell myself, ‘you have no sense whatsoever! You are stupid! You are an imbecile!’ I would ask myself: ‘what kind of a person are you? Is the path to liberation so difficult to warrant such behavior from you?’ I would insult myself in this way. What else could I do when no one would oblige me? You, on the other hand, don’t even have to search for insults or pay for them, because you receive them anyway. Hence, shouldn’t you take advantage of this situation?

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