Simple Rules

*Reprinted material, Copyright© Izzy Kalman, MS and Cross Country Education

These simple rules will:

  1. Prevent anyone from being your enemy
  2. Stop anyone from fighting with you
  3. Turn you into a winner
  4. Earn you more respect

"Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate." - Thomas Jones

Rule #1: Refuse to give others the power to get you mad.

When you get mad, you are really doing it to yourself, and you are giving others a weapon to use against you. So they will probably use it! They will have no respect for you and will continue to do to you whatever gets you mad.

Anger is a feeling we have towards enemies. When you get angry at someone, you are treating them like an enemy, and they will treat you back like an enemy.

Rule #2: Treat everything people tell you as the words of
your best friend (even if they sound angry and hateful).

This will make them actually be your friends. Tell yourself that whatever they are saying, no matter how angry or insulting they may sound, is because they really love you and care about you. By being critical or insulting, they are really trying to give you valuable advice or insight. So be grateful for everything others have to say to you. (This does not mean that you have to believe what they tell you or do what they ask - only to be grateful for it.)

"Honest criticism is hard to take, especially from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger."
     - Franklin P. Jones

"A true friend stabs you in the front." - Oscar Wilde

Rule #3: Do not be afraid.

Fear is something we feel towards enemies, not friends. We do not need to fear friends because friends don't want to hurt us. When I am afraid of you, I am treating you like an enemy. And you will treat me back like an enemy.

If I am afraid of you, I am putting you in the stronger position, and I automatically lose. Since you want to be the winner, you will keep doing to me whatever keeps me afraid of you.

Sometimes we are afraid of physical aggression. Most often in our routine lives, we are afraid of the other person's emotional response, for example, they won't want to talk to us, they'll won't like us, they won't want to sleep with us. If I am afraid of your response, I have to walk on egg shells. This makes it impossible to have a good relationship. (But if I follow these six rules, I'll have no reason to fear you because I'll be so nice to you, you won't want to hurt me.)

Rule #4: Do not defend yourself.

We defend ourselves from enemies, not from friends. The moment we defend ourselves, we are treating the other person as an enemy. So they'll treat us back like an enemy. (While we tend to think of attack as an act of aggression, defense is also an act of aggression. It is not nice to defend ourselves from someone who is supposed to be a friend.)

When one person is attacking and the other is defending, the attacker is in the stronger position. Therefore, when I defend myself, I am automatically the loser. So I won't defend myself from you if I want us to be a winner and get your respect.

Often, though, it is necessary to explain our position to the other person. There is a subtle difference between defending and explaining.

Defending is for the purpose of proving the other person wrong. Explaining is for giving them the information necessary to understand the situation.

Rule #5: Do not attack.

Attacking is something we do to enemies, not to friends.

If you attack me and I attack you back, I am treating you like an enemy, so you'll treat me back like an enemy.

It takes two people to create a fight. If you attack me, it only becomes a fight when I counterattack (or defend myself).

(Ironically, it is actually the second person in an altercation that starts the fight!)

Rule #6: If someone hurts you, just show that you are hurt;
do not get angry.

If you hurt me, I want you to feel sorry and apologize. But if I get angry when you hurt me, I am showing you my anger, not my pain. You will probably respond to my anger with anger. Do I want you to be angry at me if you hurt me? Of course not! But if all you see is that I am hurt, you will probably feel sorry, which is exactly what I want.

Why do we make this mistake of getting angry when we are hurt by someone? Because when someone hurts us in Nature, there is a good chance they are intending to inflict further harm - that they really are an enemy. Getting angry is the smart thing to do.

But we no longer live in Nature. Today, when others hurt us, they are probably not intending to do so because they are not our enemies. Getting angry, therefore, is a mistake. Today, if you hurt me, it only makes sense to show you that I'm hurt.

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