When I was younger, I thought that “turning the other cheek” was a really bad idea. It was a recipe for attracting bullies! The best guys were those who would fight back! Nobody ever gave them a hard time.
But then, I grew up.
That didn’t mean that I knew any better. I still thought “turning the other cheek” was dumb. It was the stuff of wimps. It gave people an excuse to take advantage of you.
Then something happened just changed my whole outlook.
One morning, the program manager of a huge program I was working on stopped by my cubicle, fuming and ranting about me making him lie to his customer. As it turned out, he had just concluded a phone call in which he had informed his customer that things were coming along wonderfully. Right after his phone call, he was informed of a failure that would blow his schedule and budget away. In aerospace, there is no such thing as a “small” failure.
Of course, it wasn’t my fault! I didn’t cause the failure. So what if I was in charge of the work? Why get on my case?
That’s what I should have said. Instead, I just stood there and let him rant. I merely listened and nodded my head. I offered myself as the sacrificial lamb. I actually can’t remember a single word he said.
In about a minute, his rant dissipated and he walked into my cubicle, sat down and just placed his head in his hands.
He apologized and then thanked me for listening. Only then did I offer the options for recovery.
This was significant. For the first time in my career, I decided not to fight back and came out victorious is the process. Not only that, I gained so much respect that it solidified my leadership position in the company.
This began a new way, for me, of dealing with difficult and angry people. I opted to not return negative response to negative stimuli. When someone insults me, I smile and say nothing. When someone shouts at me, I use a soft response. When I feel angry, I shut up. Since I did not transmit negative actions, I never received negative responses.
In other words, I turned the other cheek, but not in a demeaning cowardly way. It is not surrendering – it is nullifying.
I began to realize that most people are re-actors. They merely respond! The few who consciously control their action, can get whatever re-action they want from others merely by deciding what action to take.
It works in the same way that noise cancelling headphones work.
Noise is vibration. Every sound has a characteristic wave pattern. What noise cancelling headphones do is to create a mirror copy of the prevailing noise vibration. Then, by playing that same frequency over the noise, the two waves, being opposite, cancel each other out.
What you get is – silence. Peace!
Whenever a person is in any emotional state, whether good or bad, they emit the vibration of that state. When that vibration meets vibration of similar type, the two waves add up and magnify. The return wave is, therefore, greatly increased. This is how emotional states in groups can intensify.
This is why responding with anger to anger causes only more anger. The emotional states cascade!
But if the emotional vibration of one person is responded to by an equal but opposite vibration, the emotional effect cancels out. If the opposing vibration is greater, then that vibration dominates. The other person, being a re-actor, begins to respond to the more powerful vibration.
This is how charismatic personalities influence the feelings of people. The strength of their character and emotional states overpowers the dominant vibration of most people. The stronger the emotional state, the stronger the influence on others, especially with the help of media. As their emotional vibration is received by others, resonance causes that vibration to increase and reflect back to the sender. With this, the charismatic personality gets more and more powerful.
So in reality, “turning the other cheek” is not the act of a coward. It is the act of a charismatic personality who understands the power of vibration and influence. It is the stuff of leadership, the power of the visionary.
Whoever taught us to “turn the other cheek” was a genius and a highly enlightened personality. My only regret was that it took me so long to understand its true value.