INSULTS, HOW TO RECEIVE

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‘It is only the vulgar who are always fancying themselves insulted.
If a man treads on another’s toe in good society, do you think it is taken as an insult?’
Lady Hester Stanhope

The challenge is to respond to insults in a way that maintains the moral high ground; you must never allow yourself to be dragged down to the insulter’s level. Contain your anger; don’t snap back with an immediate, aggressive response – you may say things you don’t mean. Contemplate the insult in tranquillity: consider the possibility that you may have exaggerated or misinterpreted the insult; consult other friends or witnesses and see what they think; confront the (no doubt unpleasant) idea that there may be some truth in what has been said. If you still feel the need to riposte, do so in a calm and measured way – no emotion or intemperate language. Keep your response pithy and concise, and don’t return the insult or you will rapidly become embroiled in an ongoing conflict. Most important of all, rise above it.

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