There are three stages in developing a proper response to an insult:
- Stage 0. You are unaware that you are being insulted. This happens with children, who may think the insult is funny, or if you are meeting with a totally new culture and you are unaware of the insult.
- Stage 1. The prior stage does not last long. You are quick to learn what an insult is, and your first instinct is to react. No amount of coaching will help, as your primeval instincts are to hit back, and this instinct is a powerful force.
- Stage 3. As time goes on, you realize that insults are of two kinds, those delivered out of fear and those delivered out of ignorance. Yes, most people who insult you are actually scared deep within. And many do not even know that you find their actions to be an insult. In this stage you will become curious to learn more about the motives of the person who is insulting you. You will take actions to convert such a person from an enemy to a friend.
Those who do not afraid and those who are enlightened will not insult another person. He or she knows that it is simply inviting trouble and adding to their workload if they have to watch their back. He or she knows that troublesome situations have to be dealt with, discipline has to be enforced, but insulting another person will not help.
What do you do if the other person interprets your action as an insult? We’ll leave that as a subject for a forthcoming blog.