We are all sensitive people. This was clear to Marvin Gaye when he said so in the classic song Let’s Get It On, and its clear to each of us when some event in our lives inspires some strong emotion inside us.
Sometimes these emotions are positive. We feel joy and love and laughter. Often though, perhaps too often, our sensitivity makes us feel hurt or angry. The things that happen to us, especially the behavior of others, can injure our pride.
What good does pride do us? Taking pride in who we are might be okay, but it doesn’t change who we are. We merely are who we are, pride or no. When we become obsessed with our sense of self, and feel as though actions by others toward us always reflect our worth, we start down a slippery path. We approach the world and its people always with the attitude of, “Don’t you know who I am?”
Most likely, they do not. Other people just do what they do and often don’t take notice of who they’re doing it to. Children who raise their middle finger toward me when I drive my sedan on my street don’t know that I’m Brad Feiling, or what all of my traits are, positive and negative. They just want to give a rude gesture to an adult who visibly out-earns their parents. Similarly, whomever scratched my sedan’s driver door with a key in Santa Monica last month likely didn’t know I was the owner of the car.
This is why we must not take things personally. Our tendency to this is natural, but it is a grave liability. When challenged by these things, we need only take a deep breath, and remember that these people are sick, just as we once were. We should be grateful we’re walking a spiritual path now.
Once we’ve done that, we can focus on our revenge. The universe is a place forever seeking balance, so we’ll need to harm the offending person slightly worse than they have us, in order to correct the error. A good way I find, lately, is to smear animal feces on the property of such people. Animal scat can be found almost anywhere, in great quantities, usually the product of dogs (large dogs are best). For example, those neighborhood kids I mentioned? Recently, under cover of night, I visited their homes and smeared the siding and front doors with elaborate murals of the aforementioned substance.
Here again, my pride attempted to jump in and stir up trouble. I was upset that I was not going to receive credit for the feces painting. The victims would not know who did it, or for what reason. I took a deep breath, and reminded myself that this isn’t personal, and continued to wipe large brown circles onto the white, painted wood of the Masterson’s front door.
Today, I don’t need to make anything personal. When I don’t react emotionally, I can even scores with other people using cold, calculating effectiveness.