Graciousness may be one way of defining ourselves regardless of the actions of other people. YOU and I can remain concerned for the other, and polite in a way that respects them as human beings, because that is who we choose to BE as spiritual peace activists. No one else has the power to knock us so off balance that we allow our fear to overtake our good sense.
It is tempting to react with anger to someone who is aggressive towards us and to push them away hard. When we are angry, we harden our hearts (false protection) we close down our higher order thinking centers (automatically) . We are hard-wired that way.
But, no peace can be built that way – it is important to stay on top of our responses. Dr. King (Gandhi, Mandela, etc) showed us how to LOVE those who despitefully use us…heard that somewhere else before… MLK said, “you can kill me, but you can’t MAKE me hate you.” You can’t tell me he was never afraid, never angry, but he overcame that fear and focused on the dream for a world in which his children would see a better day instead.
How much more effective might it be in reaching your real goal to try to be sure the person’s needs for safety and comfort are met before further dialogue? Sometimes that means postponing the dialogue for a later date – that’s what I do in my family.
Peace and Blessings, Gerry