I’m so beyond tired of being the bigger person. I’m seriously over it. How many times, in your life, or in your relationships, have you been told to be the bigger person, or have felt like you should be the bigger person, simply because it’s easier?
These days, I now want to be the opposite of the bigger person. I want to be…The smaller person? I’ve been the bigger person for way too long, and what I’ve learned is that you never get credit for being the bigger person, just like you will never get credit for giving an engagement ring back.
For years, in my blended family, I was told over and over again to be the bigger person when any type of discourse occurred. I would always apologize, just to keep the peace, even if I didn’t think I needed to apologize at all.
And for years, I’ve responded to trolls on social media with kind responses, even if their comments were not so kind about me. Not any more!
Last week, after posting on my personal FB wall about dining out at an expensive restaurant – a spot that was near to where homeless people were being evacuated – the comments went offside. Many had a lot of love to share, but many had a LOT of hate. Usually, when the trolls negatively comment on something I’ve done, call me names, question my parenting, or disagree with ALL CAPS, I still always tried to be the bigger person, explaining my actions, defending my choices, and always responding, “Thank you for sharing,” “Thanks for your comment,” or, “I see your point.” (Even when I don’t.)
Something in me snapped. I no longer wanted to be the bigger person on social media, or in real life. I asked myself, “Why are you being the bigger person here when people are such assholes?”
So…I stopped. In response to one of the comments, I wrote, “The trolls can fuck right off,” which made me feel better. My new motto, after all, is, “Fight fire with fire.” And I’m teaching my kids this, too.
Last week, my son came home from school with a bump on the back of his head, and a bruise on his cheek after another student had a meltdown and my son was caught in the crossfire. Usually, I’d let something like this go, or make up an excuse, thinking it was just an accident. Not this time. I would not be the bigger person. I wrote to the principal, “I AM coming in to see you tomorrow at 9 am. I will wait all day if needed.” Guess what? I’ve never received an email response so quickly in my entire life! Not being the bigger person worked like magic in this incident.
Then, when I heard from a mutual friend that an ex-friend of mine refused to stop spreading insane rumours about me, even though I’ve never said anything negative about her, I finally refused to be the bigger person. Instead, this time I told our mutual friend, “She’s bat shit crazy! Please tell her I said so!”
And in a recent attempt to get along with one ex-relative, I reached out with a kind and mature text – definitely being the bigger person – asking if we could talk and come to a civil closure, for the sake of my child. Guess what? I received no response. Nothing. Nada. Now, because this person refused to acknowledge my earnest text, I will not be the bigger person, if we find ourselves in the same room. One time? Shame on you. Two times? Shame on me.
In this article entitled, “You Don’t Always Have To Be The Bigger Person: Sometimes you need to crack — and that’s cool!” this writer gets it. She says, “Every time I am the bigger person, a little voice in my head says, Why? The number of times other people do that for me are very slim to none. Why do I have to be the bigger person? Why do I have to compromise what I want to do, eat, and see for someone else? Why are that person’s feelings and opinions more important than mine? We’re both people on this planet. My feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s. Why am I always the bigger person?”
All throughout my blending of families, I was constantly told to be the bigger person. Very recently, my teenage daughter was having issues with two “girlfriends.” They were incredibly rude, and calling her names in group chats. This fight went on for days. At first, I found myself telling my daughter, “Someone has to be the bigger person. Why don’t you text them a nice note and ask them to meet you to talk it out.” Well, it’s not a huge spoiler alert to say that didn’t work out. As the week progressed, and her “friends” became meaner and meaner, I finally lost it.
“Rowan! Stop being the bigger person now. Fight fire with fire. If they say something about you, send them that rolling eye emoji, or text, “Whatever. Get a life,” I told my daughter. It was time to shut these girls down, especially after she had already attempted to be the bigger person, numerous times. Guess what happened when my daughter texted back, “I don’t want anything to do with you anymore unless it has to do with school.” The girls suddenly became nice to her again, because she fought fire with fire.
Since I’m starting to fight fire with fire, I now feel empowered. I no longer gave a crap, or feel pressure to play the role of the bigger person by responding kindly to people who are not kind to me. My daughter, too, no longer gave a crap, and felt a huge sense of relief when she stopped trying to be the bigger person.
“Being the bigger person is overrated, and exhausting. I can’t think of one legitimate reason as to why you should ever have to compromise how you feel, or what you want to do simply to give way to someone else. Because it’s not worth it. That’s what I often say to myself in my head…”
I can hear some readers screaming, “GAH! You’re teaching your children to fight fire with fire, instead of forgiving and forgetting?” Or, “This world is already so cruel! What we need is kindness and love.” Yeah, yeah, all that is true. But, in this day and age of trolls, and teenage text group chats, what I am teaching them is there’s a difference between being the bigger person and being a pushover, and that they should refuse to be walked over. Unless, of course, being the bigger person is warranted, and they know they fucked up, and need to apologize, then, yes, they should be the bigger person and apologize and reach out.
In this article, The Benefits of Being The Bigger Person, they list why one should be the bigger person. I actually like the list. I like “You’ve tried,” so there’s no room for regret. I like “No holding grudges,” and freeing yourself from negativity. Finally, I like “You grow stronger,” meaning it may not always be easy to be the bigger person, but it brings maturity and helps you move past the age of petty drama. Well, I’m in my forties and I still find petty drama everywhere, people do hold grudges, and to rid yourself of negativity, sometimes you need to do a lot more than just be the bigger person.
Sometimes you do need to fight fire with fire. And, yes, I’ll teach my children to do the same.
Tagged under: parenting tweens and teens,maturity,apologizing,saying sorry,social media sharing,rudeness,fighting with your partner,fighting with your spouse,resilience in parenting,people's comments,comments about parenting choices,trolls,defending,Social media; Tween,parents on social media,how to use social media,social issues,social responsiblilty