Rags!! By Ann Kirori




Once upon a time there was a man who was publicly offending a village elder:
- You’re an atheist! You’re drinker! Almost a thief! you are useless!
The village elder just smiled in response.
One young man dressed in the silk trousers watching that scene asked the village elder:
- How can you tolerate such offences? Do you not feel hurt? are you not a man enough to fight your attacker? What example are you giving us young people?
The village elder smiled again and told the young people:
- Let’s go with me.

The young man followed him to the dusty lumber-room. The old man lighted the kin-dling and began rummaging in the trunk, where he found a completely worthless tattered robe, dirty and smelly. He threw it to the young man and told him:
- Try it, it will match you.

The young man took the robe, looked at it and resented:
- What these dirty rags are for? I am well dressed, and you must be crazy! – and threw a robe back.
- You see, – the old man said, – you did not want to try rags. Similarly, I did not want to try those dirty words that man threw me.
To be aggrieved by offenses means to try on rags someone throw us. The young man was left speechless.


I know it’s much easier for me to tell you to stop taking things so personally than it is to actually stop taking things so personally. Still, there are ways to thicken your skin and enjoy life with more happiness and less contention and hurt feelings.
Tell yourself the person who is the potential offender has as much right to his opinion as you do to yours. Besides, they’re only words. What can words do? They certainly can’t break my bones!

Remember, the reason we usually feel offended is because of the meaning we attach to what is said or done: “That means he really doesn’t care!” “She’s saying I am no good!” “I knew he didn’t really love me!” “She wouldn’t say that if she was …” And so the internal interpretation goes.

So simply re -frame it. Talk yourself out of the offense by telling yourself: “This person is simply expressing his opinion, and listen to how interesting it is! I find it so fascinating that someone can have such opinions that are almost the exact opposite of mine!”

You will be happier as you learn to talk yourself out of offense and internalize the sticks-and-stones-may-break-my-bones-but-words-will-never-hurt-me philosophy of communication. Dear friends, you are already properly dressed. Why allow somebody’s rags to spoil your day?????

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