"HOW people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."- Anon

I have met some very interesting people in my life and I am sure you have.

In my line of work I have to deal with people every day and I have always been fascinated with the variety and the depth and the shallowness of persons. People fascinate me because people are so diverse. No one is the same.

And we get to know people in many ways. In their manner of speech, in their values, in what they do and do not do, in what they stand for, in their strengths and yes weaknesses, in their dress, in their choices and yes in how they treat you. You get to know a lot about people in the way that they treat you.

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I guess most people would be civil to one another, I guess that would be the safe route. We show only a shadow of who we really are to people we barely know.

We treat them civility and caution. It is different when it comes to family and friends. That level in which we treat family will depend on what kind of family member you are. That is also true with friends, how you treat your friends show the kind of friend you are. But in any case, the way we treat others reflects the kind of person we have become. And whether you like it or not, who you are will slowly emerge. One cannot really hide the sweetness or the stench of a person, not really. No one can hide it.

But let us leave that aside for awhile. Let us talk about how we treat others. How others treat us is something beyond our control. How we treat others is something we can do something about.

Let me tell you a story. Leo Tolstoy, the Russian writer was with a friend and they stopped by a newsstand. The writer bought a paper and the vendor gruffly gave back the change. The writer did not say anything. The following day, Tolstoy and his friend went back and got another paper. The vendor reacted the same way. This went on for a week and finally his friend could no longer contain himself and he asked the writer why he tolerated such callous behavior. Tolstoy remarked that no one can tell me how and what to feel, I refuse to let that vendor have the power over me.

Sometimes I find it odd that we let people have power over us when in fact they are powerless from the very start. If Tolstoy got mad at the vendor, in effect he was relinquishing his power to choose what and how to feel. This is true when we meet someone and say, nasira ang araw ko dahil nakita ko sya. Your happiness depends on a person? There is something amiss with you if you think that way.

Your happiness does not depend on another person, it depends on you. Tolstoy and let me quote him again said it best, "if you want to be happy, be." Do not place the power of your choice in the hands of people because most people will put you down. Your happiness lies within you, it is your choice. No one can make you happy, only you. And in the same way, no one can make you miserable except yourself. Ultimately, it is your choice. And how we react to those who belittle us, judge us, despise us shows us the kind of people we are.

It was Christ who gave us the remedy for evil. If someone slaps you in one cheek, let us give the other. If someone takes your clothes, give him your coat as well. That is not being a coward, on the contrary that is the height of courage and strength. It is so easy to slap back. It is very difficult to just stand there and take it. But in slapping back, you give the other person the satisfaction of stooping to their level. No decent person will slap you deliberately, steal from you purposely. Only those who are consumed by hate and greed can do that. And if you slap back you fall into their trap. You and I have the choice. You and I have the power to let it just go.

Supposing someone stole something from you and you meet this person. And this person who knows that he or she stole from you will greet you and say hi to you as if nothing happened. What would you think? What would you do? You have a choice. You get down to that person's level and scream and curse which that person would just love you to do because that is THAT person's level.

Or you do the right thing. Let it be. If that person greets you knowing fully well what he or she did, there is something very abnormal about that. In the end each person no matter what he or she thinks, no matter what he or she does, will always know the truth. Each person in the darkness and the stillness of the night will have to deal with the things that they do. We all have to face our demons.

You do not allow that person to have power over you. That person might have stolen something from you but that person will never steal the dignity you have, the choice you have, unless of course you allow it.

Do not let those who are powerless over you have the power over you.