This past week, Elisheva, Avital, and Dina visited us. They are three young sisters who are very close in age. There was at least one occasion upon which one of the sisters said something to another that made the other feel bad.
When the injured sister told me about it, purely for informational purposes, I am certain, I explained to her that I was not really in a position to make the remark not have been said. In fact, I was powerless to change the past. There are some things we just have to live with. My response was not terribly satisfying to my granddaughter, but it did trigger some thoughts on my part.
Many people believe that when someone has said something thoughtless or insulting or hurtful, there needs to be some resolution of the situation. Of course, in civilized society there often is. “I am sorry, Mr. Durante, that was a thoughtless remark I made about noses” or “Sorry, Mr. Clinton, I meant to ask you if you would like a peach, not an impeachment.” But there are more times that no apology is given and other times that even the apology is not satisfactory. “I’m sorry I said I only tripped because you have big feet; your feet aren’t really that big.”
At times like these, it is important for people to understand that sometimes you just need to live with it and go on. There are rude and impolite people in the world. Sometimes you will have the experience of being hurt or insulted by total strangers, but that doesn’t mean that you are any less of a person.
Things that other people say do not necessarily represent a truth about you. Often what people say about others only gives one a clue as to their own character. It is a wise practice not to become friendly with someone who is unkind to others. Someday, you might end up being that other!
I believe that a person has an inner core, a part of himself that is his essence. No one can touch that.
One of my heroes in this world devoid of heroes is Natan Sharansky. In his book, Fear No Evil, he writes of being held in the Russian gulag in a tiny dark cell, in solitary confinement. Yet, he always knew he was a free man. He never gave himself up. He recited memorized passages from the Bible. He played out chess games in his mind. He devised tricks to play on the guards. They had his body, but they never got close to his soul.
That is how he triumphed. That is how all of us can triumph over the negative people in our lives. We need to hold onto that inner core and know that it is strong and will always remain with us, no matter what others may say or do. That’s how to be a winner.