Sometimes in life you have to take the higher road, even if it is the road less traveled and you have to blaze the trail yourself. I often find myself trying to take this road because in the end I believe it makes me a stronger and better person. Sometimes it leads to a dead end, and sometimes it leads to one of the most magnificent views in the world. Either way, I have never once regretted this decision.
When I was a kid I was bullied, a lot. I have talked about this before so I won't go into too much detail here. But suffice to say it made a huge impact on me and I vowed never to stoop to that level and bully someone, even if they bullied me first. I still stick by this even as an adult, and even though I could often win a battle of wits. Instead, I choose to take the high road. Now that doesn't mean I let them walk all over me. No, I take actions to stop the abuse either by removing myself from the situation, or if that's not possible making changes to the situation.
But I also try to understand the person, and where they may be coming from. Some people are just plain mean, but a wise person once told me "Kill 'em with kindness.", thanks Mom. That's what I do, and you know what, it works, a lot. You would be amazed at how many people who are miserable and out to make other people miserable respond to someone going out of their way to smile and make them happy. Especially when that person is someone they have been mean to. Once they know their behavior is not acceptable, and that I am still accepting of them, they usually soften up quite a bit.
Now I am not saying this is the case all the time, like I said before, some people are just plain mean. See above for the dead ends I was talking about. In those cases it's best to just walk away and/or put your foot down and let them know their behavior is not acceptable.
For an example, I have someone in my life that I have no choice but to be in contact with on an almost daily basis. This person has, at times, gone out of their way to make my life miserable both in big and little ways. Sometimes intentionally hurting my feelings. I have others try to intercede on my behalf as well as trying to confront this individual on my own. To my credit through it all I have maintained a positive attitude towards this person where others would most likely retaliate or turn sour. I continued to greet this person daily with a cheerful smile, and I was usually ignored.
Today I noticed this person was in a really bad mood, not just the usual sour mood either, but actually sad and depressed like something was really wrong. I reached out to this person in an email offering my support if needed. Now I don't know where this high road will go, and whether it is a dead end or a beautiful sunset I will feel good about myself for having set foot down it. I will know that no matter how hard it may have been to not lash out at this person I didn't, in fact I did the opposite, I reached out instead.
In the immortal words of The Beatles "All You Need Is Love..."