We’ve all known a few throughout our lives, and no I’m not talking about little people, I’m talking about small people. You know, petty, vindictive, malicious, resentful, mean-spirited, the kind of person that would hock a loogie into the punch bowl at your birthday party because they feel they were slighted in some form or fashion.
No matter how they try to control their nature, no matter how under wraps they try to keep their basic instinct of pettiness and vindictiveness, if you watch a small person long enough, the mask will inevitably slip, and their true face will reveal itself in all its resentful, mean-spirited glory.
I used to get frustrated when small people would lash out. I used to react instinctively when I saw pettiness and maliciousness on display, but no longer. I realized that by reacting to their actions, all I was doing is demeaning myself and allowing their actions to rob me of my peace.
The thing about small people, in general, is that they want you to be as miserable as they are. Their singular desire is for you to become like them, to grow resentful and petty, and see every occasion as an opportunity to ruin someone’s day.
If you know what to look for, you can spot small people everywhere throughout society, from the customer at the local greasy spoon who feels the need to talk down a waitress because she didn’t bring his second helping of biscuits and gravy fast enough, or the cashier who goes on a rant over an expired coupon for ten cents off a dozen eggs, or the speaker of the house who theatrically rips up a speech one page at a time because she is seething inside.
All they are, are impotent fits of rage intended to hurt, demean, or otherwise ruin the day of another person. One would be better served by trying to swat away raindrops, or shovel snow with a toothpick, but you will never get a small person to see the futility of their actions.
The best thing you can do when you run across a small person is not engaging. Don’t react to their pettiness, don’t react to their vitriol, because if you do, at some point you will become that small person who screams at a mother for letting their toddler scribble on the sidewalk with chalk, or at a vendor for selling a bruised apple at a farmer’s market.
The best way to neutralize a small person, at least as far as I’ve found, is with joy. Joy is like a pesticide to small people; they can’t stand to be around it, and they’ll do almost anything to get away from it. Whether it’s because they are seeing something they know they do not possess, or are envious of the person who possesses it. Joy to the small person is like garlic to a vampire, or capitalism to a socialist.
So the next time you run across a small person who’s just trying to get under your skin, smile. The next time someone is being vindictive and petty, put on the joy of the Lord, and do not try to hold it back. Not only will it deescalate the situation, but it will also highlight just how small the person is being, and perhaps serve as a wakeup call as to their character flaw.