Question: My sister said something cruel about me, to my daughter. She has judged me unfairly and has no compassion for my situation. I’m so hurt. It is eating me alive. I can’t stand to even be around her. Should I confront her and tell her how I feel? Or try to forgive her and let it go? I’m not sure I can let it go. I can’t figure out how to handle this one. Could you help me?
Answer: Every day I am asked for advice on how to handle situations when someone gets offended, mistreated, hurt or ticked off by someone else.
Apparently this happens all the time.
If you can learn to appropriately respond to this kind of mistreatment, you will be capable of handling most of life's problems. Here are some simple steps to follow whenever someone does you wrong.
1. Step back and don’t take it personally.
All bad behavior is a request for love. It is a bad request for love, but it is one.
So don't waste your time and energy defending yourself because you don't need to. It’s not about you. Your sister probably feels the need to put you down so she can feel superior.
Your sister is suffering from self-esteem problems. Don’t take her problems and make them yours. Just because she is painting you as the bad guy, doesn’t mean you are.
Instead of defending yourself, you could choose not to be offended.
You could respond with love.
Love will completely throw her off. Love is the last thing people expect when they have been unkind. If you show love instead of getting defensive, it will knock her off balance and take all the steam out of her attack.
I guarentee: Your sister is hoping you will behave badly too, so she will have more proof about how bad you are.
When you choose love, even when someone doesn’t deserve it, you make them own their bad behavior and you show them the kind of person you are choosing to be.
2. Don't cast good guys and bad guys.
You must step back from this and make sure you are seeing your sister as the same as you.
As human beings, we have a tendency to cast other people as "good guys" or "bad guys" in every situation. When someone offends you, you immediately make them into the "bad guy" so you can be the "good guy."
This is never accurate.
There are no "good guys" and "bad guys" here. There are just a bunch of flawed, scared, struggling human beings.
Your sister has flaws, but you have flaws too. You cannot cast the first stone.
You are both works in progress and this situation is just a lesson for both of you. It is showing you things about yourself and giving you an opportunity to chose who you want to be.
Choose to be mature, wise and loving.
3. Trust that your value is not on the line.
Being offended is about defending yourself. The question is, Do you really need defending? Is your value even on the line?
It may feel like it is, but in reality your value is infinite and absolute. It is never on the line.
Nothing anyone says can change your value.
With this mindset, you can address the issue with love because you are not worried about you. You are the same regardless.
4. Trust in your perfect journey.
Your life is constantly providing you with experiences to learn and grow. This experience is one of those.
What is this situation showing you about yourself that could help you to become a better person?
If you can figure this out, it will change how you respond.
Jesus Christ taught us how to handle offenses with compassion, love and wisdom.
He was accused of crimes he didn’t commit and when his accusers were bearing false testimony against him, he didn’t defend himself. He knew it wouldn’t do any good because it wasn’t about him.
He didn’t take offenses personally.
He said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
The people who offend you are doing the best they can with what they know at the time. The problem is ... they don’t know very much.
They know not what they do.
Your sister is afraid and misinformed and she is taking it out on you. Don’t take it personally. Trust your value isn’t on the line. This offense is here to help you learn about love.
You will become a better person from this experience.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.