What to Do When Someone “Does You Wrong”

Is it the season, the recession, the stars, or something in the water? The number of “Somebody did me wrong” stories I’ve heard from colleagues, friends, even strangers in line at the supermarket is multiplying like the fabled fish and loaves.

There is an abundance of emotional immaturity wafting through the ether. Folks are dehumanizing others from one inexplicable extreme to the other: screaming at the top of their lungs or giving them the silent treatment. There are so many adult actors starring in elementary school dramas that it must be a new trend, a frightening one at that.

Almost everywhere we turn, people are treating us in ways that they wouldn’t want to be treated. These larger than life Anti-Christ visitations create imbalance; they make us feel out of control. (Double the wobble when these bad actors can clearly see the spirit of the Anti-Christ in others, but can’t see it in themselves.) Fascinating stuff.

Life really is simple, despite our beliefs to the contrary. We consistently make it complicated and painful by delaying, detouring or completely derailing our Souls’ journeys to their desired destinations. Why? Our egos have made us forgetful and short-sighted, the same combination that transforms gullible people into suicide bombers. Sorry about the imagery, but it’s true.

This is self-inflicted pain that hurts a lot of people unnecessarily. And all of these distressing dramas follow the same pitiful script template:

Somebody Has Done Me Wrong. Again.


Woe S. Me


You: A Soul in a human body struggling to remember that It was created in God’s divine image.

Villain: An ego-driven Soul who has lost contact with the God presence within.

Ego: The personality in every human that focuses the body’s attention on fears, insecurities and threats.

Scene:   Anywhere on the planet that the ego can destroy our inner peace

Time:    Day or night, in all time zones

Act One: Ego Deceives, We Believe

Scene One: Ego tells us that Life is unfair; only tangibles exist—and oh, by the way, we’re only human.

Scene Two: Ego tells us that there are villains who will make us their victims. These people will break our hearts, hurt our bodies, and (gasp!) they will steal or destroy our stuff.

Scene Three: Ego tells us that we should respond to all villains with wrath, righteous indignation and verbal or physical force.

Act Two: We Forget Core Spiritual Truths

Scene One: Believing Ego, we forget the core spiritual truth that God is within us and we are powerful and divine.

Scene Two: We forget that we should see the divinity in all humans, even if they can’t see it within in themselves—a disability that causes them to act as villains.

Scene Three: We focus our attention on what the villain did, which makes us feel victimized, forgetting that:

  1. We are not held accountable for what others do to us, only what we do to them.
  2. No one can hurt us without hurting themselves. Ultimately, they’re the victims, not us.
  3. We should compassionate about their disability, which causes them to be unkind.

Act Three: We Become Defensive

Scene One: We retaliate against the disabled Soul’s errant behavior with anger, righteous indignation, and verbal or physical force—so blind with rage that we can no longer see God dwelling inside our target, the so-called villain.

Scene Two: We reap what we sow. Our retaliation attracts others into our lives who will be as unforgiving as we were.

Scene Three: We can’t figure out why life is so difficult, and why long-term happiness always seems to elude us.

How often has this teeth-gnashing drama encored on our life’s stages? More accurately, how many times have we chosen to act in this play? When will it dawn upon us that these dramas will replay ad nauseum, until we see the divinity in all things and all people—and consistently treat each situation and person as if God dwells within them.

We’re not going to change our experience or our luck until we learn to respond more divinely to other people’s behavior, no matter how many new brushstrokes they’re painting on the portrait of crazy. (Thanks, Margo, I LOVE that phrase!)

Truth be told, at some point in our eternal lives, we behaved the same way. It’s part of our evolutionary process. Just because we’ve figured out that it’s not in our best interest to treat others like pond scum doesn’t mean that we don’t still have the potential to drag our Boogie Man costumes from the back of the closet. So let’s not get holier than thou by being judgmental.

Darkness gives us the impetus to turn on our Light. These errant behaving Souls—as crazy as they’re acting—play an invaluable role. Quite possibly, we attract these hurtful people into our lives to give us practice in looking for the Christ Light that is in every Soul.

These people are our coaches. They help us practice forgiveness. How could we become good at it if there was no one or nothing to forgive? The reward for our diligence and proficiency is that we will attract more forgiving people and other Beings of Light and fewer Princes(ses) of Darkness. I’d say it’s worth the effort.

Wouldn’t we rather surround ourselves with loving people who respect and treasure us? That requires us to be loving and respectful. It means that we have to treasure every divine Soul, regardless of their outward appearances or bad acting. That doesn’t mean we have to invite them for dinner, hang out or fall in love with them. We can love their Souls…from over here, where Light and Peace and Joy prevail.

This is important stuff: Attracting people who will not disturb your peace requires you to invite the God within you to direct all of your dramas. God is not a screamer. You must listen very closely for the “Still Small Voice” that delivers your divine instructions. You’ll be surprised by the clarity and simplicity of those directions.

Sometimes there is nothing more to learn from a situation, and the “Still Small Voice” might say, “Let go, move on.” Trust what you hear. Do what you’re told. Know that something or someone more respectful, more honorable, more supportive, more joyful, and more deserving awaits the divine you.

Other times, the “Still Small Voice” might tell you to do something to neutralize a situation that someone’s else’s ego has imbalanced. It means that your Soul has agreed to be the channel through which the matter will be resolved for the Highest Good of all concerned. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Allow God, and God alone, to work through you. You’ll know that it’s the Divine talking to you if what you are directed to do is not vindictive, involves no anger, requires no force, and no one is physically or emotionally harmed.

Whatever and whomever you need to complete your Divine Assignment will mysteriously appear. Sometimes they provide resources and information that you didn’t know existed. You didn’t need to know before that moment.

No doubt, the egos of the so-called villains probably want to maintain the status quo. But their Souls and the Divine Spirit within their Souls want their errant behavior to cease—for their own good. Egos only have control over bodies. They have absolutely no power over Divine Spirit. Game over.

What are the implications for you? Understand who you are; be curious about why you’re here. Instead of fixating on the darkness dancing in others’ errant behavior, look for their Light. And by all means, keep your Light on. Since Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time, your Light will be critical to the healing of that Soul or situation.

Who knows? Perhaps they called you onto their path to help them find their Light. Do a little over-acting: Magnify their Light. Uplift them. Bless them. Or maybe the need was yours: Maybe your Soul blessed you with the dilemma so that you could gain more “been there done that” credibility and “I know exactly how you feel” empathy for others who might reach out to you.

As Iyanla Vanzant wrote, “There Is Value in the Valley.” When someone does you wrong, thank them. They’ve stopped their own evolutionary growth to give you this opportunity to reconnect with the Divine within you, to practice acting as if you are divine, to practice non-judgment and forgiveness.

These so-called villains are not party crashers. Your Soul invited them onto your stage because they were the perfect characters to teach the lessons you needed to learn. Everyone and every situation that arises in your life serves the purpose of your Infinite Soul and Divine Spirit—the real you, the part that was made in the image of God.

You have options. You can choose to focus your attention on creating comfort and abundance for your finite physical body. You can even believe that God sent you here to wallow in paper money and luxurious material items. (Haven’t you heard? “God wants you to be rich.”) But consider the possibility that focusing on temporary possessions on the physical plane is as ego-driven and self-destructive as going into a crowded marketplace with explosives strapped to your body.

Even if you choose that route, your infinite Soul will survive. And it will grow, despite your ego’s antics. Stretching beyond the physical plane is uncomfortable. Growing pains are real. But the Soul can handle it, and it has all eternity to patiently teach you the value of being more visionary, making more divine choices.

The next time someone does you wrong, think before you react. Remember the Law of Attraction/Reciprocity: Whatever you do will be done to you. You will attract souls who mirror your beliefs and behaviors. They will treat you the way that you treat those whom you refuse to forgive.

Take advantage of every painful experience that arises. If you don’t learn and grow from that experience, if you don’t seize the opportunity to rely more heavily on the Divine within you, the one who “did you wrong” won’t be someone else.

Who’s gonna nab the real burglar in Cambridge?

The furor over the arrest of renowned Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been painful to watch, even from the balcony of Life’s dramas: Scenes littered with suspicion, mistrust and accusations of racial profiling morphed into outrage, defensiveness, retaliation and, alas, some unfortunate mug shots. None of it—not the incident, the race-based commentary or what was really happening behind the scenes—was spiritually enlightening or positively evolutionary.

If you resisted the urge to jump onto this stage and fuel the flames of racial bigotry, if you maintained some distance and climbed into the balcony of the mayhem, then you had the benefit of being detached enough to see the character stealing each scene. You could almost hear him chortling. Uh huh, it was our devious friend Ego, the Anti-Christ, gleefully yanking everybody’s chain. Yes, I said it: Your, my, our ego is the Anti-Christ.

I didn’t think that I was the first to link the two; but just to make sure, I Googled “Ego Anti-Christ.”  The numerous results included books such as Real Jesus, the psychology of anti-christ, and articles. One, “How to Recognize the Anti-Christ Within” leaped from the page. There was even an Oprah.com Community post, “The anti-Christ is NOT a person.” 

Millions are waiting for the Anti-Christ to arrive, but it’s been here all along. It sits where we sit, stands where we stand, walks where we walk. And all too often, it speaks when we speak. It prods us to do and say things to others that we would not want done or said to us. It picks fights, fuels dissension, and causes us to choose angry force over peaceful power. It justifies righteous indignation over effective conflict resolution. It’s like a magnet, spinning our moral compass out of control.

Ego is the antithesis of the Christ spirit. It upstages maturity and intelligence. It stirs up mess, and through mass and social media, engages millions in divisive bickering that keeps us mired in the drama of Earth, distracting us from the greater reality of who we are and what Life is. Heaven forbid that we should choose peace, bliss out, and discover that we are more powerful than our egos led us to believe!

Ego is winning its battle for our souls, though not on merit. We’re forfeiting without even showing up.

Ego has a vested interest in highlighting our differences rather than our unifying divinity. It tells us that others are less human, less intelligent, less prosperous or not as beautiful as we are, and we should treat them offensively. We obey. It tells us that someone thinks they’re better than we are, and we should be offended. On cue, we shake our fists in rage, hearts pounding, glands sweating, blood pressure rising, literally making ourselves sick. 

Ego doesn’t care whom it hurts. After all, hurt people hurt people. Hurt people also create more drama, so the ego’s manipulative mission has been accomplished. Ego will act a fool and make a fool wherever humans allow: in the opulent offices of global government and business leaders, in the squalor of tent cities, refugee camps and urban ghettos, and in quiet upscale neighborhoods such as Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In every case, the human mind makes a conscious decision to relinquish control to the devilish ego. We are not as conscious of the corresponding consequences, but that can change. At any moment, we can choose to act in our own best interest.

“I can be changed by what happens to me.
I refuse to be reduced by it.”
                                                                       Maya Angelou

 Whenever we let the ego force us to focus on the superficial, we volunteer to be reduced—sometimes in front of huge gawking audiences. Whenever we handcuff and book someone for screaming at us, we reduce ourselves to mere ego. Whenever we ask, “Is it because I’m Black?” or retort, “I’ll talk to your mama on the porch,” we’ve let the ego win. Whenever we label ourselves as anything other than children made in the image of the Love that is God, we’ve bought into the ego’s false claims that we are only humans, defined by our differences.  

Situations often arise to help us remember who and whose we are. These teachable moments allow us to practice calling on the Light of God within to anchor us to our seats so that we won’t leap onto the stage of someone else’s ego-driven drama. These are times when we can work on perfecting the art of seeing the omnipresent God Light in everyone, no matter how they’re acting.

Truth has its rewards. Without these challenging or confrontational situations, when would we have an opportunity to demonstrate our values, stand firm in the truth of our own divinity, and refuse to be diminished by anything said or done?

Whatever your reaction to the lamentable drama in Cambridge, did you observe your own values on display when you spoke or wrote about it? Others certainly noticed. While responding to my comment about the incident on Denrique Preudhomme’s blog earlier this week, a woman declared that she didn’t believe that we should turn the other cheek and let God handle our problems. Furthermore, she said, God would not want us to back down from a fight with our tails tucked between our legs.

If she had not written that, the rest of us would not have known that she, like George W. Bush, perceived God as pugnacious rather than the Prince of Peace. I didn’t argue. We must give loving allowance for folks to believe what they believe. However, I did acknowledge my awareness that there are many who, like her, do not believe in the teachings of Jesus. (OK, so I also added that this is why we create, nurture and repeat these hurtful dramas. I admit that it might have been a bit judgmental. I’m working on that—mean it. Hey, if my soul was fully evolved, it wouldn’t be wearing this body.)

That brief online exchange was just another of my many self-awareness tests. Sometimes I pass, sometimes I fail. The most difficult part for me is maintaining conscious awareness that many times each day I will encounter these opportunities to speak and act from my empowering Divine-Self or my destructive Ego-Self. Each decision has its corresponding consequences, which should be incentive enough. And it is, when I remember instead of getting caught up in the drama.

It’s infinitely easier to detect these growth opportunities when I watch other folks’ dramas from the balcony of their lives. Recently, several friends have approached me for support after encountering dehumanizing individuals who hadn’t simply hidden their God Light under a bushel; they had buried it in a different zip code.

One friend wondered if the vile nature of her client’s in-your-face communication warranted an equally caustic and profane response “to show him who he was dealing with.” After all, she was no chump!

Because she was no chump, I suggested, wouldn’t it be a greater demonstration of her strength if she refused to allow him to blow out her Christ Light with his belittling rants? Any chump can throw verbal garbage or physical blows. Any small person can try to feel bigger by diminishing the worth of others. Only the strong can turn the other cheek, knowing that the power of the Almighty is within them. She liked that idea and accepted the challenge to flex that muscle.

A few days ago, another dear friend and mentor, a phenomenal manager in the business world, demonstrated that he is also an awesome leader in the real world. His boss, frustrated that he did not have the authority to fire my friend, spewed venomous, demeaning language in his face.

My friend didn’t react, no matter how disrespectfully the man behaved in this professional setting. He refused to relinquish his power. He refused to allow the out-of-control being on the other side of the desk to force him to abandon the refuge of his Christ-Self.

He calmly observed his boss’s tantrum. In fact, he said, he felt sorry for the man—and with good reason:  Despite his considerable education, this man did not know what he was doing to himself physically or spiritually. He did not know that his fury was creating a chemical time bomb in his body. He did not know that this is a reap-what-you-sow world: Whatever you do will be done to you. He also did not know that your anger cannot control others’ bodies, minds or behavior unless they allow.

Luckily, most of us can exist an entire lifetime without being subjected to scenarios with this level of toxicity. I can’t say with certainty that I would have responded appropriately if I had encountered this situation before my mentor modeled—with a capital “M”—how to exude sheer power. If he can do it, we can do it.

He didn’t simply accept the opportunity to be Christ-like, he owned it. He was like the proverbial tree that’s planted in the water: He would not be moved. Despite his boss’s numerous attempts to drown him in darkness and goad him into responding insubordinately, my friend stood strong and tall in the Light, knowing that Darkness and Light cannot occupy the same space at the same time. By making this choice, he and the Light actually became One.

The irony here is that one man was a Christian minister. The other wasn’t. Guess which.

It was Ego who walked off that stage with his tail tucked between his legs—a defeat that did little to spoil its high batting average in many other places in the world, including Cambridge. Perhaps we can further diminish its influence and impact if we simply shed light on other instances in which we held the Anti-Christ at bay. (Now wouldn’t that be a Revelation?)

What challenges have you faced that you’ve overcome in a powerful way? Or if you missed an opportunity, with hindsight, how would you have handled it more effectively?