When I was younger, I operated on the peaceful principles, but I always made it clear: if you hit me, I’m going to hit you back. Me hitting back was justified because I had been hit first or maybe even provoked to a violent form of anger.
At the age of 22 I have realised what this principle actually says about me. It’s easy to be vegetarian at home because you simply won’t buy any meat products, but if you’re eating in a restaurant, do you go for the meat option because it’s available? No. Otherwise you’re not actually a vegetarian.
The same principle applies to our reactions. I used to claim to be a kind person, always smiling, which I was, and I still am, but the moment someone done something to annoy or anger me the beast would unleash. When I was in year 7, so 11-12 years old, I used violence as a physical outlet for my emotions. I was trying to fight boys, girls, teachers, anyone who got in my way. Luckily, I was disciplined out of that behaviour by my parents.
In my late teens I developed a viscous tongue, and it was always used as a defence mechanism. The things I would say to and about people was nothing less than malicious, despite in most cases it being the truth. I was “telling people about themselves” without looking at my reflection first. I would pretend I wasn’t upset, and I wasn’t hurt by revealing ugly truths about the character in question, but by doing this I sacrificed my own good character.
Now that I’m aware of this defence I’ve been able to decide for myself how I would like to be remembered, not after my death, or legacy wise, but my character. I would like anyone who has met me to remember me as kind and good, even when I’m being provoked.
I used to think I was letting people “walk all over me”, but by changing my character and reacting to theirs, that’s what made me carpet. When I stay true to myself and continue to be kind, I can console whatever hurt I feel and also feel good about myself because I know I didn’t degrade my personality.
Think about what kind of person you want to be and assess whether your actions and reactions align with that person. It’s amazing what we find out about life and others through self-reflection.