Many times in our lives, we will have moments where someone verbally attacks us – for no good reason. Whether it comes from your boss, spouse, partner, parent, child, good friend, or an acquaintance; you will be unfairly challenged. You have a split second to decide what you will do. A teaching from the book, A Course of Miracles, which is a Christian-based, spiritual and psychological study that I follow as part of my faith, calls this moment “A Call to Love.”
This weekend I went to my favorite beach and I saw a few “regulars” who I’ve known for years, gathered to celebrate the 80 degree weather the second weekend of October. Other “regulars” joined the gathering throughout the weekend, and new friends were made. The second day, however, after an hour of my arrival, all of a sudden, out of the blue, a gentleman I have seen at the beach for years, was verbally cruel to the man sitting nearby me, someone I just met. I had the pleasure of getting to know the first man fairly well this summer, and none of us expected such a verbal put-down from him. We all got quiet because we were shocked. The counselor in me felt I had to diffuse the situation, and after a few moments I said in a caring and gentle way, “Ah common, you don’t mean that, you’re always so kind.” Then he began to verbally assault me. Again, the group was stunned. In these situations you have one of three choices.
One – ignore the person, say nothing, stew inside and let it ruin your day. Two – enter into verbal combat which escalates everything and makes things much worse; and Three – quiet and calm yourself, close your eyes and breathe, and begin doing some internal self-talk. Self-talk can be either negative or positive, and everyone has internal dialogue. When two people fight – your self-talk can escalate or de-escalate a problem. I know this man fairly well, and think of him as a kind, generous person that everyone likes. I chose to think he was having a bad day, and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. My thoughts went deep within my spiritual faith and chose to do “A Call to Love” and mentally forgave him. I stayed to myself most of the afternoon, as I was reading anyway. As the man was leaving the beach, I wished him a “blessed winter” and really meant it. As an Inter-faith Minister and Counselor, it was important for me to do the right thing, and wish him happiness. This is the code I live by. He did respond, “You too.” It could have been left on a peaceful note, however, the other man who was insulted started laughing, which antagonized the situation once more. I said again, “I meant it – if I don’t see you over the winter, I wish you well.” I chose to say and think compassionate, loving thoughts – for both myself and this summer acquaintance.
As I Coach my couples, there are many times a “Call to Love” can totally change a fight, an angry person’s attack, or someone who is saying hurtful, irrational things to you. You are choosing to stay calm, think, and verbalize peaceful, loving thoughts. This is very personally powerful and yet, not easy to do. However, if you learn this technique, you will feel better and in control no matter what the other party says to you. It will give the antagonist something to think about, and hopefully calm him down so you can have a beneficial discussion about an issue later. All choices come from a place of either “Love” or “Fear.” Choosing Love gives you internal peace, the ability to forgive harms done against you, and the choice to remember each experience – or person – in a compassionate, loving way.