To Belittle Is To Be Little
*This narrative represents all of us, trying to figure our way through this beautiful yet chaotic world.*
Not the opening line you were hoping for? Hey, it’s okay, you can be the bigger person and let it slide by! 😉
Last night I was re-watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban and Harry’s character really impressed me just like it did to the rest of the world (loving Harry Potter is a right of passage, guys!). His forgiving nature pleasantly surprised me, he was loving, accepting and most important, he mastered the art of letting go and making peace with the things that he couldn’t change (feels like I’m low-key attacking myself, tch tch).
But perhaps what the most interesting thing about him was that even while using the cliche trope of an orphan child seeking answers, the author managed to not sink into revenge being the only option. It also got me thinking about how he was the bigger person through all of his trials and tribulations and I wondered how do we really determine who a bigger person is?
Is it someone who is always forgiving those who wrong them and rise above it or is a bigger person someone who knows how to not let certain things get under their skin and draw healthy boundaries around themselves?
This reminds me of a fight I recently had with a close friend of mine, where she abruptly stopped wanting to be around me. I tried reaching out and mending the relationship, but we had a falling out. I realised that whatever I chose to say in anger, would be something she would never forget. Keeping this in mind, I told her that I regretted what our friendship had come to and left it at that.
Most of us tend to forget that being a bigger person doesn’t necessarily mean that we always have to let things slide by (we don’t let our siblings hog on to our remote time, so why compromise on this, right?) I mean of course it’s easier said than done, and being the bigger person sometimes feels so challenging, but hey, what is life without a challenge? Now don’t get us wrong, we’re not asking you to hold a grudge against those who have wronged you, we all know how important forgiveness is (my philosophy professor is going to be so proud of me), but keep the other person’s actions in mind too.
Setting boundaries and respecting them is vital to each person’s mental health and the success of any kind of relationship. Most of us have had to apologize on occasions when it wasn’t even our fault, and I’m sure you’d agree that it can be very frustrating (cue a very very very angry Hulk).
But , can we be the bigger person if someone does not accept our apology or compassion?
There are times when we simply have to address the issue at hand because being a bigger person is about expressing our feelings and not keeping them piled up only to have the other person say “if you had an issue with this then why did you shut up about it for so long?” as their way of avoiding it. It’s always better to clear the air about what bothers us and what course of action should be taken to rectify that behaviour, not only with others but, with ourselves as well.
For the next couple of months after the fight, I spent a lot of time wondering what I had done wrong and getting mad at myself for my mistake. I blamed myself and had a hard time accepting what had happened (believe me or not but I would secretly listen to Count On Me by Bruno Mars during this phase and cry). But after a couple of weeks of this I realised that despite making those mistakes, I had made the effort to fix them. I had tried my best to repair the wrongs I had made and was not to blame if my efforts were not accepted.
Being the bigger person is not always about letting go of the differences we face, it’s also about embracing our own flaws and making peace with them (cue Alessia Cara’s Scars To Your Beautiful). I always imagined being the bigger person involved in external validation, you know, when I get like 10 likes on the Gram, but turns out it feels more like having a good hair day!
Once my perspective of myself and the situation changed, I found myself thinking about my friend again. I felt like reaching out to her again. Since some time had passed and feelings had calmed, she was more open to talking and we discussed our situation. We sorted out our conflict and came to an agreement. She also told me about a major difficulty she had been facing since the time of our falling out . As soon as I heard about it, I did my best to console and support her in getting through it (and this time she sang Count On Me with me! *happy tears*).
What I am trying to say is, being the bigger person gives us perspective of our own self and others. Not the kind that makes one person look closer while the other looks farther away. It is about loosening our grip on something we feel is perfect and acknowledging it for its imperfections. Empathizing helps us heal within and support others. So, if you feel like you are ready for it, be like Baymax and find a way to help others with whatever they may be going through.
If you need more convincing, here’s a conversation Bill Clinton had with one of the most iconic leaders, Nelson Mandela:
Clinton – “I wonder what you must have felt towards your jailers when you were walking out of that prison after those 27 years. Weren’t you angry at them?”
“Yes, I was angry. And I was a little afraid,” answered Mandela. “After all, I’ve not been free in so long.”
“But,” he added, “when I felt that anger welling up inside me, I realized that if I continue to hate them after I got outside that gate, then they would still have me.”
With a smile, Mandela concluded, “I wanted to be free, so I let it go.”