I want to talk about the simple art of taking the high road.
I worked for a law firm many years ago. The managing partner said during a crisis meeting of serious sorts: “No matter what, we–at this firm–take the high road.”
The impact of that situation did not directly touch me–but the crisis mattered big time to the leaders in the firm. I respected their judgment, and the way they chose to lead during a really tough time.
I have not always lead my life taking the high road. This is a skill I have cultivated over the last couple of years–but one that I am proud to say that I take to heart now. Every. Damn. Day.
Pettiness exists everywhere. People will undercut and undermine you in many ways. But here is one truth that I have learned.
Their shit is never about you. Their shit is always about them.
When people “hate” it’s because they can’t stand you. (Ouch, right?)
Well, maybe. But as long as you didn’t steal their husband or murder their pet, you are probably disliked for other reasons–reasons having nothing to do with your core being, your life, who you truly are.
The hate often stems from their insecurities, jealousy, failures. Something about you reflects something in them they don’t like. It has to do with their interpretation of your success, your health, your choices. You are somehow a reflection of something they have deemed unfair, or unreachable. You make them angry because they can’t seem to move past what you have moved past. They have made different choices, and they are angry at you about it.
Literally–you can add and add to this list.
But it’s not about you. Ever.
My son and daughter (ages 11 and 10) have recently taken to fighting–relentlessly. And it doesn’t help that we have been snowed in, off and on, for weeks–along with a winter break from school. I explained to my daughter, “Look. You can’t control what your brother says or does. Ever. You can only control what you tolerate and how you react.”
She’s 10. So that was a struggle, because her ten-year old instinct is to lose her mind on his comments, his teasing… him being basically an older brother.
But yesterday, she started off her video on her Instagram, talking about how she would choose to be happy, choose better. I was blown away by her courage and her resolve. (Have I mentioned how much I love parenting tweens? I mean, the drama is there–but it’s really cool to watch two people grow into people.)
Today, I encountered some pettiness. My ears grew hot for about 30 seconds. I blasted an email to a trusted friend as a vent.
And then… I reminded myself to breathe, to not allow the drama (the NONSENSE) to take hold.
I reminded myself of what I can control (the food I eat and the attitude I have).
I reminded myself that what other people think of me is none of my business.
So I ate my breakfast… and headed to the gym.
Taking the high road is about keeping yourself sane.
It’s not about having the last word, or proving your point. It’s not about winning–because sometimes you take the high road with your silence, and you lose friends and business–and that’s okay. Because (once again) it’s about staying sane. You can’t fight a ghost. You can’t fight someone who doesn’t fight fair. You also can’t fight someone who has nothing but time to burn.
Taking the high road is about avoiding the Nonsense, the drama that other people can swing right into your face–and then you find yourself all riled up and crazy over something that really (at the core) doesn’t have anything to do with you.
You win when you keep yourself sane.
You win when you walk away and enjoy your day, without their drama.