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“The way people treat you, is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about you.”
This quote is helpful in handling people who are unreasonable unkind. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one just have to be passive, according to psychologist Clifford Nazarus in his article for “Psychology Today”. He argued that rewarding unkindness with kindness encourages a person to continue displaying bad behaviour—like a reward system.
Other psychologists are supporting his claim. Although it is inevitable to meet difficult people, or even to have them as part of a family, certain of “rules of engagement” are necessary. Marriage and family therapist Michael Morgan, says that “The way you believe about and treat yourself sets the standard for others on how you demand to be treated. People learn how to treat you based on what you accept from them.”
Dr. Phil says, “If you’ve got somebody being rude to you, you’ve got to really make a decision to just not react. You don’t have to be confrontive, but you do need to stand up for yourself.” He also explained the difference between being assertive and aggressive: “Assertive people stand up for their rights while aggressive people often step on the rights of the others.” Commonly, people react to rude people by being rude themselves. It is as unhelpful as being too nice.
Malcolm X expressed his stand on the subject through this quote: “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.”