One of the greatest signs of maturity is the ability to show due respect to people and the realization that all of life is precious and none of us are in a position to judge other peoples lives. Real maturity is not an age, but an inner wisdom – a plateau where you no longer feel the need to fix others, and you realize others are not responsible for fixing you. Maturity is taking responsibility for our own lives, emotions, and responses to life- you quit blaming and finding fault with everyone else, realizing that you are no better and no worse.
Immature people gossip, complain, and find fault with others. Immature people can be bullies overtly and covertly. Some are loud and aggressive and some play subtle games, so subtle that they sometimes are not even fully aware of the games they are playing with other people.
Bullying takes on many forms. Subtle bullying can be smart-ass comments about others, leaving a particular person out of your circle while feeling superior to them, and spreading rumors and ill opinions of them. One of the cruelest forms of bullying is indifference- treating someone like they don’t even exist.
One way you can know you are being bullied is when your personal boundaries are being stepped over and you are being ostracized for not conforming to the person’s/people’s expectations of you. When you are not sure of someone’s actions toward you and you feel uncomfortable with their expectations and/or treatment of you, ask yourself if you would ever treat them the way they are treating you. If the answer is a firm no, then you can be sure that your boundaries are being violated and you are not being properly respected. You are dealing with immaturity.
The best way to handle it is to kindly let them know that what they are doing is not okay with you, and ask them to please stop. If they are mature and respectful, they will be glad you were open and honest with them. But if they cannot show you the same respect that you show them, then it may be necessary to put distance between you and them. Others may not understand why you had to put that space there, and they may even judge you harshly; but again, that is their issue not yours. A mature person, if they really cared, would just inquire into what the problem may be, but immature people judge and gossip and listen to ill-reports of others and believe them.
Take a good firm stand and know in your heart, that their ill-treatment is about them and their immaturity and really has nothing to do with you. Your sweet disposition possibly made you and easy target, but that does not have to be compromised in order to let others know you will not tolerate anything less than the respect that is due to any person.
You may not fit the mold of their paradigm, they may not agree with your life-style, thinking or choices, but that does not give them the liberty to be disrespectful to you.
Sadly enough, there will be those in your life that will never grow up. They will reach a ripe old age with a bad, disrespectful attitude toward those that they do not agree with. You will look over your past history with them and lament in your heart over the fact that no matter how you tried, it was never “good enough.”
There comes a time when we need to let them go- a time to “absolutely and utterly walk away.” Sometimes it helps to commemorate that decision with a little ritual. One that I have found that helps is to find a quiet place where you can be meditative and reflect. Then, mentally place the person/people that you no longer want in your life in a boat. Bless them- wish the best for them and send them down the river and out into the vast ocean, never to be seen again. Even if you will continue to “see” them keep this picture in your mind. You are finished. They have chose to devalue you, and you have chose to let them go.
Life is about choices. Regain your dignity and peace of mind. Let the haters go on their way without letting their hate attach itself to you. If necessary, you can even take all the ill-feelings you may feel towards them, write them on paper then find a river and tear it to pieces and send the ill-feelings with them.
Be set free!