Last week a man in a car, coming from my right when I was driving, seemed to think he had the right of way (he didn't) and he proceeded to blast his horn and give various hand signals when I didn't stop. At first, I felt very annoyed, but then I stopped myself. I didn't have to let his rudeness and bad manners (and bad driving) affect my day. I could choose not to let it affect me. He had to go around with all that anger inside him but I didn't. I chose not to. I carried on and picked up my daughter and enjoyed a pleasant drive home.
Buddha was well known for his ability to respond to evil with good. There was a man who knew about his reputation and he travelled miles and miles to test Buddha. When he arrived and stood before Buddha, he verbally abused him constantly, he insulted him, he challenged him, he did everything he could to offend Buddha. Buddha was unmoved. He simply turned to the man and said, “May I ask you a question?” The man responded with “Well, what?” Buddha said, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, to whom does it then belong?” The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it.” Buddha smiled. “That is correct. So if I decline to accept your abuse does it not then still belong to you?” The man was speechless and walked away.
This is a great way to deal with rejection and criticism. Don’t let someone else’s view destroy the way you feel about yourself. That doesn’t mean not to listen, but don’t just accept their view either. We all have a right to our own viewpoint and your perception of yourself is very important.
Use this strategy when you encounter people who reject or verbally abuse you and know that you don’t have to make their perceptions your own.