Rude People and Breathing: An Exercise

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Lady smiling at rude person

Sometimes it is best just to smile.

They say you should treat rudeness with kindness or some such notion. I believe more in instant karma. I also believe in standing up to bullies.

The guy in the suit babbled away on his mobile about “securities plays” in a loud voice hoping to impress everyone around him, rushing ahead of me to get in the checkout queue. As the checkout lady started bagging his items, she put the “next order” divider after his groceries and that was my signal to put things on the conveyor. One problem, he was so engrossed in his inane conversation he would not move down towards the bag area and kept his hand on my side of the divider as if to say “I am not ready to give up this space yet”. As I said above, I am not good at suffering fools, so I started emptying my cart over, around, and ON TOP OF HIS HAND, while he stood there with an angry look on his face. I just smiled and unloaded all my items on the conveyor, mostly ignoring him.

He finally got off the phone, looked at me and said loudly, “what’s YOU’RE problem?” I calmly looked him in the eye and said “I have none except people around me that are so caught up in their inane phone conversations, they have no clue what’s going on around them. And this store is not YOUR ‘territory’, it is meant to be shared by everyone”. He had nothing to say except a few profanities, and as he walked out the door he gave me the one-fingered salute. I smiled and waved. As a martial artist, I am aware of what can happen in fights so very rarely go down that path.

I thought everything was okay until minutes later I got on my exercise bike for my daily afternoon ride. I usually start slow at about 100 heartbeats per minute and work my way up through interval training to about 140 beats. Imagine my surprise when I got on the bike and my monitor showed 135 beats per minute! Could that incident in the store have done that to me? I knew it did.

My training in yoga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has given me some insights on breathing. Immediately I concentrated on taking deep breaths from the abdomen, filling it up, then breathing out very slowly. I also focused on turning my thoughts on what I was having for dinner. I did this for about a couple of minutes and was glad to see the monitor register 110 beats even as I increased the pace on the bike.

The moral: control your temper, breathe, breathe, and breathe…..Also, don’t give in to rude people or bullies. They must learn that what comes around goes around, sometimes immediately.

“The most important thing is not victory, the most important thing is not getting defeated”. Rickson Gracie

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  1. Bianca N says

    I also believe in Karma too. I’ve been told since primary school to “treat others the way you want to be treated” and it pretty much means that if you’re nice to people, most of the time they will be nice back to you. I admire your calmness and self control during this situation, rude people get to me easily and I have to admit that when this happens I just need to calm down and focus on more important things. Breathing is a great calming technique that I’ve used in a few situations and it has helped me greatly

    Overall, a great post – especially the quote by Rickson Gracie at the end which I’ve copied into my school diary and will read and reflect upon it whenever I go past that page
    I look forward to seeing more!

  2. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Hi Bianca, sometimes it is really hard to stay calm, but yoga and martial arts have taught me the power of breathing–it just calms you right down. Rickson is a very wise man. Glad you enjoyed the article and thanks for commenting!

  3. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Hi John! You are probably a wiser and more patient man than I, most likely due to your nights on the door keeping the riffraff out!

  4. says

    When someone is rude to your the worst thing you can do is react in a negative manner. Practicing a calm demeanor and respond with kindness could confuse and possible change their attitude and how they interact with people. Always be a positive influence.

  5. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Thanks for your comment Caleb, and yes, you are correct. But remaining calm and responding in a kind manner are perhaps two of the biggest challenges. Nevertheless, worthwhile to practice!

  6. says

    Was intrigued by the title of this article! I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. Just breathe all the positivity in and breathe out the bad vibes. He’s just one out of billions of people in this planet – pretty much insignificant (having this mindset always helps me get over rude people).

  7. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Thanks for your comment Chris. I like your analogy of breathing in the positivity and breathing out the bad vibes. Nice!

  8. says

    Supermarkets can sure be ‘interesting’ places for unfortunate human behaviors! Just recently I wrote up a case of near child abuse on a 3-4 y/o boy that I witnessed and interceded with!

  9. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Hi Dr. J! Yes they are, I have seen a number of “unfortunate behaviors” there myself, but this was the first that involved me. I’ll check out your case on your blog. Thanks for stopping by.