On dealing with insults

Remove the sting of an insult

  • Even a minor insult can affect us for a long time. We can often feel its sting decades after the incident.
  • It is essential that we start working on eliminating the sting using stoic advice as soon as possible.
  • Remember that an insult can only effect us if we judge it to be an insult.We decide.
  • Ask yourself if you respect or value the person who has insulted you.
    • If the answer is NO then be relieved that the person who insulted you disagrees with you (or dislikes you) , cause if they were to agree or like you then you must certainly be doing something wrong.
    • If the answer is YES then pause and evaluate if there is some truth in the insult.If there is truth then deal with the issue and try to improve, why be upset if the insult is actually a fact. If there is not truth then there must be a misunderstanding , clarify it.
  • Always remember rational people rarely insults others, at least not knowingly. So a person who insults us is either flawed in character or is immature. We shall ignore their comments - like we ignore the barking of a dog.
  • Become increasingly insensitive to the approval or disapproval of others. Be indifferent to other peoples opinions.

How to respond to insults

  • Easiest option - Do not respond or acknowledge.
    • Ignoring someone's insult is the most potent form of counter insult. It shows to that we are indifferent to the existence of the person who insulted us or his/her opinions.
  • If you are feeling witty and energetic then use humor to devalue the insult.
    • If we find the insult to be funny or something to be joked about then we are communicating to the person and other observers that the offending person and his/her opinion does not hold much value or meaning but rather is laughingstock.
  • There are situations where an immediate reprimand is necessary,situations that are interfering with out social duties, e.g. if a student is continually insulting a teacher in class then it will disrupt education. Most importantly the counter insult or reprimand should not be because our ego in hurt , but instead it should be to help the attacker resolve his/her character flaws.

Notes from A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

This book is life changing. If you are a parent, this should be part of inheritence you leave for your next generation.

Anger is a by product of being insulted , learn about dealing with anger here.