The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson

Containing His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
and some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).

Be the Better Person

We all carry emotional baggage from our present or past interactions with others. Whether it be your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, associates, or co-workers’ things happen – both good and bad. It is not important that they happen, as in life they will happen, but it is important how we deal with them. And this dealing with it is as important at the time they happen, but also how we deal with it afterward. We can choose to act negatively, both at the time they happen or afterward, or we can attempt to be the better person. You should also remember one of my "Shit Happens" Truisms when these things occur.

I have often seen, and become personally involved, in negative interactions. Not only with my friends and associates but also with my family. Friendships have been lost and family members have become estranged. All of this has led to nothing but unhappiness for all those involved. Unhappiness that has led to negative repercussions in life for all those involved.

Dealing negatively with the bad at the time it occurs is a normal human reaction. We should try to be more understanding of the other person and deal with the situation at the time it occurs in as positive a manner as possible. This is not always possible, but we should try to be positive when they occur. Utilizing my observation of “Principles” can assist you with these situations. However, this observation is not about how to react to the present but how to deal with it afterward.

Carrying negative baggage about another person results in negativity in your life. It can result in your being sad, upset, angry, anxious, or depressed. Emotions that we should reduce or eliminate in order to lead a happier life. The two pieces of advice that I can provide in how to better deal with these situations are:

  • Remember you cannot control what others think, say, or do. You can only control what you think, say, or do.
  • Try to let the situation be a positive reflection on yourself.

The first piece of advice is to remind yourself that you can only control yourself and not others. Therefore, control yourself! Control what you think and feel about the situation. Control what you think and feel about the other person. And most importantly control how you deal with the person in the future, as well as control how you discuss the other person and situation with others. Always be polite and respectful of the other person when discussing the other person with others. This will not only put you in a good light, but others will see you in a good light. If it is difficult or impossible to deal with the other person in the future don’t deal with them. Politely ignore them or refuse to discuss anything about them. Remember your mother’s advice – If you have nothing good to say about someone say nothing! If you can accomplish the first piece of advice the second piece of advice will come naturally. If you were in control of yourself during the situation and afterward you will have a positive reflection of yourself, and other people will notice this, and it will garner you more respect from others.

What about the situation where you or the other person weren’t controlling yourself or themselves? The best advice I can give you is to remain as silent as possible and to politely walk away. Walk away and give yourself time to calm down. After you calm down think long and hard about what had occurred. Think not only of how you felt and thought but what the other person may have felt or thought. Be willing to admit to yourself that you may have been wrong in some particulars and/or were not as polite or respectful to the other person as you should have been. Then be willing to approach the other person and ask if you could have a private conversation with them. A conversation in which you should first admit where you have been wrong and apologize for not being polite or respectful. You may find, and often find, the other person receptive and being willing to admit their faults. This can be very difficult to do but it is often very worthwhile in doing. Even if you cannot get satisfaction from the other person you will have the knowledge that you were the better person, and you will feel better about yourself.

The situations involving parents, siblings, and relatives are more intense and more difficult. After all, as the saying is you can choose your friends and associates, but you cannot choose your family. Your family will be your family even after you or they die. This is where forgiveness becomes important. You must have that private conversion to try to rectify the situation. If it cannot be rectified, you may have to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness not only for the other person but forgiveness for yourself. Forgiveness that may not be successful but must be attempted. Attempting forgiveness will allow you to become a better person. Above all you must reduce the negative baggage that you carry because of the situation. Do not allow this negative baggage to control your life. My final piece of advice when dealing with family members is - Get over it! What has past is past. Do not let your family control your life based on the past. Take control of your life and decide what is best for you based on the present and the future. Remember that your life is your life, and you need to make the best decision that will improve your life. Put the past into the past and look to the future when you make these decisions. These decisions will often be better if you became the better person.

We often make life decisions based on this positive and negative baggage. And often the negative baggage we carry results in bad decisions. Decisions that will decrease our happiness in life. If you become the better person you will often make a better decision that will increase your happiness. So, become the better person. Become a better person by being polite and respectful to all persons in all situations. This will demonstrate to those who would disrespect you that you are worthy of respect. It could also bring shame to the disrespectful person and may also cause them to reexamine their behavior. It will also imbue you with confidence and self-esteem that will stead you well throughout life. In addition, people like working with and associating with other people who are polite and respectful, which may advance you in your work or personal life goals, and lead to greater success and happiness in life.