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What is being the bigger person?
Many of us have heard about the notion ‘be the bigger person,’ but what does this really mean? Well it definitely doesn’t mean eating more. Put simply, being the bigger person means to live and interact in the world in a way which better allows us to get along with each other. The result being more peaceful, rewarding and meaningful relationships in our life.
Why is it important to be the bigger person?
If you are not being the bigger person, then chances are that you are experiencing conflict within your relationships to some degree. How many families and friends do you know whom are free of conflict of some sort? Be it the royals, celebrities, or anyone else, most are riddled with drama. Whether it’s a sibling not talking to a parent, this friend not talking to that friend, that partner not talking to their ex, or anything else. And it’s a similar story within workplaces too. The fact that there are so many lonely people within families is a real tragedy.
Apart from the damage this does to relationships, the stress of these interactions can literally suck the energy out of you and rob you of joy in each and every moment. And this is true regardless of the fact that it may have been in the past, if you try not to think about it, or even if you no longer see the person anymore/have removed yourself from the situation. In this way, it is important that you strive to be the bigger person, because doing so allows you to live more in the now and enjoy life, which equates to a happier, healthier, fitter you. It’s simple – the more we get along the less stressed we are.
How can we be the bigger person?
At its core, being the bigger person is largely about compassion and understanding, and there are lots of ways we can do this, but here are a few of the key ones…
Act, don’t React
The key here is to know what ‘pushes your buttons.’ Instead of getting upset with the other person/situation (both of which are powerless without your reaction) and getting drawn into their ‘stuff,’ step back and take a deep breath whilst trying to remain calm. This will prevent your actions following any undesirable thoughts in your head. Remember, rise above instead of sinking down to their level. If you have anything negative to say then instead of reacting don’t say anything at all – instead simply go quite. As you do this, try to just listen and remain curious and by doing so you will better able to connect with the why they are reacting/behaving that way they are/see the situation for what it is. They could just be having a bad day, or it could be something deeper where they are acting from a place of fear. If this is the case then try to have compassion for them. Not only will this make you feel better by not losing your cool and giving your power/energy away, but by not reacting you will also teach them about balance and compassion too. Try to be slow to anger and quick to forgive.
Don’t Personalize Things
We often get hurt when we personalise things such as negative comments or actions from others. And the moment you personalise things, is the moment you react. What we need to realise is that none of these things should ever be taken personally. When you know and live true to who you are, then very little of what people say or do, will affect you. In other words you no longer personalise anything – it’s like ‘Water off a ducks back’. This is partly due to the fact that you are no longer subconsciously seeking their approval and are no longer concerned whether you are liked or not. It’s also due to the fact that as you get to know more about yourself then you also become much more understanding of others too. Ensure to always spend some time each week learning more about your true nature and eventually you will find that being the bigger person will come more naturally to you. The more work we do on ourselves, the more we operate from our heart centre instead of our rational mind, and the more compassionate we become.
Forgiveness is something which so many people struggle with, and often because they cannot come to grips with the hurt caused. But the reality is that anyone who has ever done anything to hurt you or your loved ones has done so because they simply know no better. This includes the fact that they have been hurt themselves – hurt people hurt others. You might think that they know better, but if they really did, then they wouldn’t have hurt you in the first place. So regardless of what situation or injustice has happened in your life and how unfair it may seem, you need to let it go. Remember, the reason to forgive, has nothing to do with the other person, but rather is for your own sake. And you can’t get the last 24 hours back let alone the last 10 years so don’t hold onto grudges. So say to the people in your life what you need to because otherwise it may be too late… Never would off, could off, should off – instead forgive them and let go. Forgiving another person doesn’t mean you need to be their friend – you may still dislike them and that’s ok.
We all know people who wouldn’t apologize even if they chopped of your arm and we have to be careful here that we don’t sit in self-righteous resentment instead of forgiveness. This is where we won’t forgive first out of the need to be right, prove a point or because we are scared that the person will not forgive us back. Don’t try and point score – instead be the first to forgive. It takes a big person to forgive someone who has not admitted that they may have done wrong or who hasn’t apologized, but doing so frees you up to live your life by bringing you back into your power. It also helps them get on with their life too. You know you have truly forgiven someone or yourself when you remember it without having bitterness, as well as having a sense a gratitude for having learnt the lessons you have learnt.
Often the hardest person to forgive in life is ourselves. If you have done something to hurt another then stop wasting energy trying to cover your mistakes and instead acknowledge your wrongs and own it. People are generally very forgiving because we all make mistakes and it’s not what you do wrong but rather your unwillingness to deal with it that makes people angry. People don’t have much tolerance with people who refuse to be honest – no one expects you to be perfect!
Sometimes we are quick to judge others because we focus on what makes us different, including things like our body, job, age, wealth, education or anything else. Instead, we should focus on what makes us similar, like the fact that we all have two eyes, one heart, and we all came from and will eventually return back to the same place when we pass over. As we do this, then those small differences become something to be celebrated, rather than frowned upon. In-fact, it’s what makes the world so interesting. ‘Namaste’ is a Sanskrit word which roughly translates to ‘the God in me sees the god in you.’ Can you look at others and see the God in them? And can you love them the way that God loves you? This has nothing to do with religion.
Another way we can be less judgemental is to remember that everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. In-fact, we are all suffering, some just more so than others. There is always more than meets the eye because everyone has a story, so never judge and assume anything about anyone. By doing so you will find out a lot more about who they are/their situation, instead of just hearing what you want to hear. This also includes not gossiping about others too.
Often the person we judge the most is ourselves, and most of the time we don’t even realise we are doing it. Be mindful of negative self-talk, and stop being so hard on yourself. As long as you are doing your best in everything that you do, you cannot do any more than that.
Being the bigger person is not about doing the easy thing, it’s about doing the right thing. The key is to be intentional about being so – to choose to have peace and harmonious relationships in your life, instead of drama. So think about your own life, and what you need to do to be the bigger person.
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Q.Is there a situation in your life where you have been the bigger person? I’m sure there are many, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
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