Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Advice for the passive aggressive at heart...

I have a bit of advice for anyone reading this who happens to have a passive aggressive streak in them and is perhaps looking for a self-improvement type of new year resolution: Get rid of that streak. Passive aggressiveness is one of the ugliest ways of dealing with a situation. It alienates those you are using such tactics with and it also puts you under the category of coward in my book.

I am bringing this up now, because I am dealing with a passive aggressive person who is nice to my face, but whenever has a chance to point out any faults that I and all things and people associated with me possess, takes it and rides it to the end with the thinly-veiled pretense of joking. I laugh it off, but it's an awkward, forced and tense laugh that should alert the person that something is wrong. Very rarely are such people able to distinguish such a laugh from a genuine one, however. Due to this (for lack of a better term) denseness on the part of those who just don't get the reason behind the weird laugh, I along with other people like me end up looking like punching bags, door mats people wipe their feet on whenever they get a chance without impunity.

This brings me to the point that just because I don't fire back right away, doesn't mean I'm not upset, or that I'm stupid... or that I like serving as a stress reliever. You see, aside from me being a rather pacifist person who wants to live and let live, I am also of the belief that to respond to passive aggressiveness, or any other manner disagreeable to one's tastes, is to lower oneself. I believe it was Oscar Wilde who when he was faced with a situation where someone was basically trying to mess with him in a way beneath him, said: "I refuse to enter a battle of wits with an unarmed man." This statement doesn't just cover wit.

Other than being a pacifist, there is another P-word I would use to describe myself: proud. Many people see pride as a negative thing. Sometimes they even associate it with narrow-mindedness, as do I when the situation calls for such a conclusion. The pride I'm talking about, however, is not one that entails pride of material or out-of-control things like skin color and nationality and over-the-top patriotism. The pride I'm talking about is the kind that involves keeping one's dignity intact, something that everyone should work hard to preserve, even if it means picking your battles when each battle that comes your way is worthy of a fight in your mind. We don't have control over what we are, but we certainly have control over who we are, and I choose to be someone with unwavering dignity, hence, my choice to let those who use tactics beneath me do what they want.

Also, keep in mind that passive aggressiveness fixes nothing. If you have a problem with someone or something, just say it, or just stay away from the person or situation that causes these passive aggressive feelings to bubble up and surface. All you do with an attitude like that is work hard to maybe, just maybe be clever enough to line your true, not-so-funny feelings with wit, a rare commodity, because you're too afraid to face up to whatever it is you need to face up to. Relax your nerves and save yourself a headache and an awkward situation by just letting it all out in the open. I guarantee you will feel better and gain more for your benefit to fix whatever is broken.

Good luck.

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