We have all experienced assholes.  At work.  Socially.  While shopping for a package of toilet paper.    

Heck, every now and again, maybe we’ve even been one. 

But you recognized it, reined it in, and apologized — right?  Of course you did.  That’s the difference between acting like an asshole, and being an asshole. 

Because basically you’re a good and decent person who doesn’t like treating people poorly, but the stressors of everyday life sometimes overwhelm and you blow a gasket and vent at the closest, most convenient person. 

Then you feel like an asshole, and apologize.  And they graciously accept.  Done.  Social graces and all that. 

However, sometimes, you will cross paths with those individuals who aren’t the slightest bit sorry about being an asshole, and they will go out of their way to make you feel two inches tall. 

When this happens — at work, with clients, customers, patients, (depending on your career field) it can be devastating.  You feel horrible, beat up, and unappreciated despite your best efforts to offer the best service possible. 

Why do we take it personally?  We can be told all day long that we do a wonderful job, and are absolutely amazing at what we do, and that one apple rolls along and, with all its worm and rot, leaves you depleted and despondent.  Maybe even a little bit like a failure. 

But the real truth is that when that asshole is trying to make you feeling like nothing, it’s only because that is precisely how they feel. 

And misery loves company, baby.

Have you read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz?  One of the agreements is “Don’t take it personally”.  While I don’t always remember this in certain situations, I fully recognize the profound wisdom of these words.  Their bad behaviour?  It’s about them.  Their negativity.  Their hopelessness.  Their puncturing unhappiness with their own lives.  And while it’s sad that anyone has to feel that way, when it gets fired your way, you have to protect yourself.  Everyone has to do their own work to find their happiness, their peace.  No one else can do it for them.  

So dig deep inside yourself, find that inner Teflon, and always remember that the only one that can take away your Power, Strength, and Belief in Yourself is YOU.