What is your default reaction when someone throws insults at you? Are you the type that smiles and leaves, the type that insults back, the type that rounds it up with a few slaps or the type that quietly pays back?
An insult is an offensive or disrespectful statement or expression. Insults come in different forms and different magnitudes. They could be accidental or intentional, factual or abstract. That is to say that when someone insults you, what he says might be something that really exists in reality or just an idea that he has in his head. He might say it purposely or he may mistakenly spill it out before realizing he did.
For instance, if I have a big head and someone tells me: “See your big head!”, it’s likely going to be taken as an insult, but it doesn’t change the fact that I have a big head. Also, when someone tells me: “Close that mouth! It’s even smelling” and I know that my mouth ain’t smelling, then it’s obvious that my smelly mouth is just an idea in the person’s head.
In both instances, the insults may be said intentionally to hurt me or by accident. In fact, some people intentionally make insulting statements but end up saying they were only joking.
We Nigerians like respect very well, so it is very easy for us to recognize an insult. A typical Nigerian can break down a full sentence by separating the insults from the clean words. He will pick out all the insults one by one.
Different people say insulting statements for different reasons and people respond to insults differently. You know now, there are some people that you just can’t reply and there are some you scare off with just your eyeballs.
It’s really not nice when insults get to us. Sometimes, it keeps playing back on our minds and we could stay on it for long. The person that insults you might just be snoring away at night, while you keep tossing around thinking of what was said to you.
This is why it is very important for all of us to get to that point where insults don’t get to us anymore. It is something that is quite difficult to achieve but it makes life a lot easier and gives us less burden to bear.
So, next time when someone insults you, try to think of the following reasons why you shouldn’t get upset and they will help you a lot.
Reasons why you shouldn’t get upset when someone insults you
- They didn’t name you in the first place, so they have no right to rename you. When someone wasn’t the one who gave you the name you are using now, how can he name you again? For instance, let’s say your parents named you Bella, and then someone calls you goat, you shouldn’t be upset because they don’t have the right to change your name from Bella to goat. They can NEVER make your name become ‘goat’. You are not a goat, but Bella. Simply tell them: “I can’t see any goat here, check somewhere else”, or don’t even answer because that is not your name. If you get upset and start throwing things up and down, it means you are answering your name.
- It doesn’t reflect your personality but theirs. What someone says to you is not a reflection of who you are, rather, it is a reflection of who they are. Someone raining hurtful and offensive insults on you only reveals what’s in the person’s heart and it tells so much of who the person is, not who you are. Rather than get upset over it, pity the person because he’s the one who is in need of serious help in his life.
- What they say is not a fact, but an idea in their heads. When someone tells you that you are foolish or crazy or mad, why get upset when you know you are not? If you don’t respond wisely but react wildly, you begin to exhibit the foolish, crazy and mad traits. That will make the person say, “you see, I told you people she’s mad”. That makes the person right about you.
- If it’s a fact, then you didn’t need them to tell you cos you already knew. Like I said before, an insult could be a fact. Like if I know I have a big head, and someone says “see your big head”, I could make him look foolish by saying, “You don’t have to tell me, I know okay? When you have something more intriguing to say, please call me”. I have a friend from secondary school (name withheld), who taught me this. Whenever she was being insulted, she always laughed out louder than the insulters. In fact, she would even join in and insult herself more than them. This made them stop because they realized it wasn’t getting to her, rather, it was even very fun for her. For instance, if they said “You are very skinny” (not using the original insults), She would start laughing and say something like, “I’m telling you! In fact, it’s so serious that the wind almost blew me away just now when I was outside”. This made them stop because they realized it wasn’t getting to her, rather, she found it amusing. This comes from a place of self-confidence and self-love. When you have those two, insults sound like jokes to you.
- You make the person happy by giving him the reaction he was looking for. Most intentional insults have the purpose of hurting your feelings and making you upset. That’s the plan. If you end up upset, then you are freely giving them exactly what they wanted. You have made them achieve their purpose easily. Why not surprise and disappoint them by not getting upset? They are going to look stupid and feel foolish. You can even give one big annoying smile, and then maybe a laugh or two, then ask them if they are done, then carry on with what you were doing before you were rudely interrupted. It works! The upsetter ends up being the one who gets upset.
- You give the person power over your emotions. When people know they always succeed in making you angry with their insults, they will always come up with new ones. Whenever you give anyone power over your emotions, especially people who don’t like you, they will always try to use it against you. When you get upset every time they insult you, they feel they can control you and they start believing they can mess up with you anytime. Learn how to control your emotions and don’t let anyone determine how you respond to things.
- The insults are just pure crap for God’s sake! Some insults are just funnily meaningless. For instance, “your mother!”, “your father”, “see your nose”, “Just look at you”. What do they even mean? See my mother, see my father, okay, I have seen them, what next? See your nose, just look at you, okay, I see my nose every day and I have looked at me in the mirror more than I can count, so? What’s your point? Can you even speak English? Do you know what communication is? Can you pass across your message in a way that the receiver understands? My dear friends, these sentences mean nothing, so no need removing your shirt or removing your scarf and tieing it around your waist in preparation for a fight the next time someone tells you such. What you react to is actually the person’s intention to hurt you, not what he’s saying because what he’s saying is pure jargon.
This is my take on how to handle insults. There is a difference between reacting to insults and confronting someone who has been in your business. I don’t see anything wrong with letting people know that they have crossed the line and advising them to stay in their lane. When you’ve had enough of someone’s consistent trouble, it’s okay to put the person where he should be if he refuses to do it himself. But do it with wisdom.
Most of the verbal insults that come your way on a day to day basis are something you can respond wisely to, rather than react badly to. When you keep practicing this, it becomes easier to shove off negativity and this helps you to NOT allow people to control your emotions or make you act wildly. It also helps you understand that most of what is being said to you is a reflection of who the sayer is and not who you are.
I would love to hear what your take on this is. Please leave all your comments in the comment box below. Don’t hesitate to share because you never know who needs to hear it.
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