Hi! I am P.
M. Forni of Johns Hopkins University and the author of The Civility Solution. Today we are talking about what to do when people are rude. And now we are talking in particular about accepting the reality of rudeness. We as human beings are often tempted to be in a position to reality. We are unhappy; we want to edit life instead of going through it. We are in a mode that is always this I like, this I don't. And one of the things that is most difficult to do for us is just to accept reality as it is. Which doesn't mean not to react, not to change it; it means to first and foremost before doing anything else just to accept that what is, is. When we do that we have much more serenity in our lives. Since we always as human beings prefer certain outcomes to others, we are often disappointed. We applied to a certain university and we are accepted in another university. And we mope and we think it's a big tragedy, not to speak of worse things like losing your job for instance and so on and so forth. But in reality experience tells us that whether one thing happens or another, whether we are accepted to the university that we have chosen, that we preferred or we are not accepted and we have to go to another one. In the end the alternative to our preferred outcome is going to be very likely bringing as good as the other. It would bring good things. There are good things that are awaiting us at all outcomes. How do you except rudeness? Well, you have first of all to accept the reality of it that it happened. There is nothing that you can do. It cannot un-happen, it is there. But visualize it as a package that you have received and you have accepted but then you return to the sender because it doesn't really belong to you. And that is the case with rudeness. To distant yourself from what happened, think that the perpetrator may have been diagnosed with something that threatens his or her health. Think in terms of the bad state of mind in which that person can be and when you do that, you are in much better position to respond in a responsible way to the slide that you have received.
Accepting the reality of rudeness does not mean being a doormat. It means simply to have the quiet wisdom not to respond in an impulsive way. In fact you are required or wise to respond in an assertive way. Being assertive is extremely important because we teach others how to treat us by how much we are willing to endure from them. When we are dealing with friends, spouses, members of the family, or co-workers, people who are part of our lives, it is better to be open and say what you have done to me is problematic. Why? Because if you dont say anything and you repress, the other person will do it again. And you will repress it again and the other person will do it again. And one day you are going to explode and then the other person will say but how was I suppose to know, you never told me that you felt that way. So now you are doubly at fault because you exploded and because you never told anything. So this is the basic, very important, capital reason for considering very seriously to be assertive and to be speaking up when you are at the receiving end of an act of rudeness.