“Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.”
— Ralph Ellison (The Invisible Man) / 1952
This quote rings incredibly true. People who are confident, truly, and comfortably in their own skin, will never compare themselves to others for validation. Many insecure people give themselves an inflated sense of superiority by putting other people down, acting as bullies.
Real power, to me, is quiet. It doesn’t need to say anything at all. It’s a silent sort of energy that draws respect from those who are near it. You don’t mean to make people feel intimidated, but you do regardless. And it’s these people who feel intimidated by you that act the exact opposite way of this quote: they show off.
They bring you down, so that they can feel better about themselves. I often see insecure people treat others in such a manner when they feel threatened. From my experience, whenever somebody treats me with a lack of respect for no reason, I can tell that they’re intimidated by me and therefore put me down to make themselves feel better.
If you’re on the receiving end of such negative behaviour, there’s not much you can do to stop the aggressor from bullying you. You have to just remain confident, stay calm, and try not to let it get to you. Whatever problem these people have is with themselves; in other words, their treatment of you is not a reflection of your lack of worth as a person, but a reflection of their relationship with themselves.
It can be hard not to take it personally, but if there’s one thing I learned, it’s hardly ever personal . . . so learn to let it brush off your shoulder. Because however horribly they’re treating you, just remember that they must treat themselves even worse.