“I can’t control other people but I can control what I say and what I don’t. I refuse to get down on anyone else’s level and I’m going to take the high road on everything.”
~~ LeAnn Rimes
Somewhere along the line I learned, and I’m not sure exactly when it happened, to take the high road. And I am so grateful that I did. Taking that path has done nothing but bless me over and over again.
I know two of my finest teachers were my mother and one of my best friends, Linnea.
When I broke up with my ex, I was tempted to tell everyone the horrors he put me through over five years of my life. How I truly believe that I was feeling so much heartache that I quite literally manifested a heart attack at the age of only thirty-eight years of age. The doctor’s couldn’t believe it. They told me they would kill for my cholesterol level that I had at the time. They couldn’t understand how it happened.
But I did.
Yes, I was tempted. He had done me damage soul deep.
But then I thought. WWLD?
What would my friend Linnea do? And what she would have done was keep her business to herself and hold her head high and speak ill of no one.
So despite temptation, I did not cry from the highest towers all he did to me. Instead, when people asked why we had split, I would say something like, “Well…we grew apart. Began to value very different things. We decided it would be best to go our own ways. And maybe we could still be friends.”
It was not the road he decided to take. He told everyone he could think of, in everyway he could, what a horrible person I was.
Interestingly enough, without asking, almost universally, everyone chose me. Including some of his friends!
Since then I have taken this road over and over and over again. And time and time again, it has served me well.
Time and again I have stepped away from what a part of me wants to do. To get back. To take revenge. To harm as I have been harmed. But when I take a deep breath…when I let it go…only good has happened, although once in awhile it takes time to see the evidence.
Not to flog a dead horse, but a few years ago when my ex’s brother died and I was asked by his brother’s wife and kids to attend the funeral—and I did—another huge stink was raised. By my ex. He got on websites. He got on email lists. He told everyone what a scum ball I was and by attending the funeral I caused untold heartache and now his brother’s family wouldn’t have anything to do with him anymore.
Me? I said nothing. I did not respond. I did not defend myself. I did not give my side of the family. I chose not to address his attacks in any way.
And apparently that handful that decided through the years to be neutral turned against him.
This guy—he has a learning disability—walked up to me at a convention and hugged me. He said he saw the emails and thought—Oh boy, how is Ben going to react to this!—and when I didn’t this guy said to me, “Ben. You taught me class. You’re my hero.”
I do talk about the Evil Team Leader. I do. But here is my place to vent. I will not wish him ill. And I won’t hate him as much as many people would say he deserves it. It’s not easy. But as I have said before, hating someone is like taking poison and expecting them to die. It does my nothing buy harm.
I will chose the high road.
He has reared his head through the years and accused me of everything from stealing to having sex with a minor. And every time I refuse to respond—although that last one was hard.
And everyone I knew rose up and struck out at him! I didn’t have to defend myself.
I have learned that the best thing to do is take the high road.
And I am so grateful that I have….
Photograph by hotblack from morgueFile