We’ve all had those moments where we allow our irritation or anger to get the best of us, and instead of lashing out in a loud, violent uproar, we result to the lesser: being petty. Social media has adopted the term as a passive-agressive mindset or behavior intended to cause negative feelings by the person targeted. Although the act of “being petty” is exagerrated for humorous effect on the internet, it is understood by many the impact social media can have on the younger generation, which is reflecting in many of our daily lives and personal relationships.
There’s an art to being petty in the black girl community and strangely, without any direct instruction, every black girl has seemed to master the craft. It allows us to channel our malice in a more relaxed, yet vengeful way. Although, (sadly), this can be very satisfying, there comes a point in our lives where we should release ourselves from that vindictive spirit, be grown, and simply make the effort to turn a blind eye to whatever is giving us the urge to react that way.
Four years ago, I was 17 and in the beginning of a relationship with someone I had immense feelings for. I’m talking in love, for the first time, so I was not playing about this boy. So here we are, in the midst of our new-found puppy love, and after some time, an obstacle stops us in our tracks, bringing all the feelings of euphoria I had to a complete stop, replacing it with resentment, envy, and complete rage. It was the ex-girlfriend. It’s a long story, (not that I was gonna tell you), but the things that were said to spite each other definitely caused emotional damage on my end. On top of that, it was through Twitter so many of our mutuals got to witness the issue between us first hand. It was one of the most humiliating things I ever had to go through and I regret it to this day.
I’ve always been the kind of girl who was an advocate for empowering others, especially women, so looking back on it, I’m ashamed to have even let my frustration get the best of me the way that it did. The things that I said really had me questioning myself. In the moment, of course, I was hurt and angry by what was being said about me so I didn’t care less about what I was saying to hurt her. My mother knew how sensitive I can be, so she’d always warn me to take a second to think before I react, ensuring that I was acting strictly off logic and not my emotions. Unfortunately, that’s not what I did throughout that time of my life.
It took a while for my vision to clear, but a little less than a year had passed, and I began to realize how wrong I was. There was a point in time where it was really eating away at me and I’d think about it often. Ironically, in the midst of me feeling that way, I’d gotten a notificiation that she’d followed me on Tumblr. I followed her back and immediately felt something inside of me urging me to apologize to her- so I did. I sent her a long paragraph, confessing my wrongdoings and in response, she did the same, saying that she’d wanted to reach out for a while but she didn’t exactly know how to go about it. We both found that it was a misunderstanding that started it all, but because of emotions, we reacted in a way that could’ve easily been avoided. After that, it was as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
Had I chosen to not be petty and ignore it, it would’ve saved me so much hurt and embarassment, for 1.) being disrespected, and 2.) acting out of my character and hurting someone else. I’ve come to understand that I have a choice in what bothers me and what does not. By being petty, you are giving someone else power over you. What you do not allow to bother you has no power in bringing you down. If it cannot harm you in the long run then it is not worth your time nor energy. Your pride is within you but it doesn’t need to fight with you every step of the way. Learn to control it, because in many cases, your pride is like that friend that’ll lead you into bad situations that you should not be in, then fleeing and leaving you to deal with it by yourself. Law 36 of the 48 Laws of Power will tell you that ignoring what’s intended to bother you is truly the best revenge. No matter how much one may try to convince theirselves that they’ve “won” because they didn’t get a response out of whoever they were targeting, it’s bothering them deep down. So any time you feel the urge to be petty, take a step back, breathe, and tell yourself that you’re better than all of this, because you are. Give them a reason to believe that. Sip that tea, girl, and continue to do you.