A woman greeting a man with a handshake.

Has anyone said or done something unkind to you today? Perhaps at work or at school someone was rude, making some insulting or demeaning remark. Or, while you were shopping, a person may have crowded in ahead of you in line.

Similar things may occur in one’s own family. One member may speak slightly or disrespectfully of another. Or they may be rude or unkind in some other way. How do you react when these things occur?

Is it wise to retaliate?

Football coach arguing with referee on the pitch

Is there not an immediate inclination to retaliate? But have you found that this really helps? The fact is, many relationships have deteriorated and broken up because of retaliation. An opposite course is much wiser.

For consider: When tired or irritated, have you not said or done unkind things to persons you love? We all have. And have we not wished later that we could retract what was said or done?

But if retaliation to the unkindness follows, does not a cycle often start? Yes, unkindness quickly follows unkindness and hostilities grow. Some persons may feel that they should repay injury with injury to keep others from taking advantage of them. But, time and again, experience has shown how unwise this is.

Feuds can result. Sometimes these have lasted so long that the participants do not even recall how the strife began. Even whole nations and peoples have become involved in this cycle of rendering injury for injury.

How can it be stopped? What is the best way to react to unkind remarks or acts?

Go the extra mile to be a peace maker

Two lady friends with earrings with peace symbol.

When the neighbor’s dog drank her baby’s milk, the woman demanded compensation. But her neighbor became enraged and a knife fight resulted. The two women cut each other severely—all just because of the loss of a little milk.

This is typical of what can happen when people blow a small thing completely out of proportion. Often this leads to far greater loss to those concerned than if the original demand had been granted or withdrawn peacefully.

You may know people who are bent on getting every personal advantage regardless of the expenditure of time and money. They make issues over trifles and insist that they must be vindicated.

Would it be wise to get involved with them in lengthy and costly legal battles? Often it is better to take a loss and thus avoid getting embroiled in a maze of legal problems.

As far as an official or a supervisor is concerned, he or she may have the authority to request the performance of a particular service. Instead of protesting, the individual asked to do something usually is farther ahead by being willing to do what is required of him or her. Thus avoid needlessly reprimand from those in authority.

Now, in the case of the two women mentioned above likely neither one of them would have been scarred for life had there been a willingness to make compensation or to take a small loss. This is well illustrated in what happened to two women attending a public function.

One of them accidentally knocked over a bottle of milk that the other woman had bought to feed to her baby. She quickly cleaned everything up and, when the other woman returned to her seat, offered to pay for the spilled milk. But the other woman had no interest in compensation and the two women soon were engaged in pleasant conversation.


Truly, the person who gains is the one who avoids making issues over trifles and really goes beyond what is asked of him or her to settle matters peaceably. There is real wisdom in being willing to walk that extra mile to be a peace maker.

A young Sudanese refugee girl in distress.

Try to imagine you are living in peace, but suddenly your whole world changes. Overnight, neighbors become enemies. Soldiers are coming who will loot and burn your home. You have ten minutes to pack and flee for your life. You can take only one small bag, since you will have to carry it for many miles. What will you put in it?

You leave amid sounds of gunfire and artillery. You join others who are also fleeing. Days pass; you shuffle along hungry, thirsty, and unbelievably tired. To survive, you must drive your body beyond exhaustion. You sleep on the ground. You forage in a field for something to eat.

You approach a safe country, but border guards will not let you cross. They search your bag and seize everything of value. You find another checkpoint and cross the border. You are put into a squalid refugee camp, fenced with barbed wire. Although surrounded by others who share your plight, you feel alone and bewildered.

You miss the companionship of your family and friends. You find yourself utterly dependent on outside assistance. There is no work and nothing to do. You fight feelings of hopelessness, despair, and anger.

You worry about your future, knowing that your stay in the camp will likely be temporary. After all, the camp is not a home—it is like a waiting room or a warehouse of people that nobody wants. You wonder if you will be forcibly sent back to where you came from.

This is the experience of millions today. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), during the year of 2013, an average of 32,200 people per day was forced to flee war or persecution.

An additional 33.3 million people were displaced within their own countries. Mostly women and children. As offspring's of war and calamity, refugees are set a drift in a world that does not want them, a world that rejects them, not because of who they are, but because of what they are.

What complicates the refugee crisis?

Immigrants in a camp in an European country.

Those refugees who reach a rich nation frequently find that their situation has been complicated by the many thousands of people who have migrated to the same country for economic reasons. These economic migrants are not refugees fleeing war or persecution or famine. 

Instead, they have come seeking a better life—a life free from poverty. Because they often pretend to be refugees, beleaguering the asylum networks with false claims, they make it harder for genuine refugees to get a fair hearing.

The influx of refugees and immigrants has been likened to two streams that have flowed side by side into wealthy countries for years. However, increasingly strict immigration laws have blocked the stream of economic immigrants. Thus, they have become a part of the refugee stream, and this stream has overflowed to create a flood.

Knowing that it might take several years to examine their asylum request, economic migrants reason that they are in a win-win situation. If their request for asylum is accepted, they win, since they can remain in a healthier economic setting. If their request is rejected, they also win, since they will have earned some money and learned some skills to take home with them.

As increasing numbers of refugees, along with immigrants, stream their way, many countries are pulling in the welcome mat and slamming the door. Some have closed their borders to those in flight.

Other countries have introduced laws and procedures that just as effectively deny entry to the refugees. Still other countries have forcibly returned refugees to the lands from which they fled.

Adding to the problems of being a refugee is the aspect of xenophobia—fear and hatred of foreigners. In many countries people believe that outsiders threaten their national identity, culture, and jobs. People with such fears sometimes express themselves in violence and physically harm refugees.

The problem of returning home

Refugees from Angola returning home.

Throughout the world, humanitarian organizations strive to help those displaced by war and other problems. A major way they help is by assisting refugees to return to their native countries. Refugees abandon home, community, and country because they fear they will be murdered, tortured, raped, imprisoned, enslaved, robbed, or starved.

So before refugees can safely return home, the problems that caused them to flee must be solved. Even when armed conflict finally ends, an absence of law and order often discourages people from going home.

Returning is not easy. Often the countries to which the refugees return are in ruins—with villages reduced to rubble, bridges destroyed, and roads and fields sown with mines. Thus, the returning refugees must rebuild from scratch not only their lives, but also their homes, schools, health clinics, and everything else.



Callously closing our eyes to the plight of millions of refugees will not make the problem go away. As long as there is political strife, as long as there is oppression, as long as there is starvation and poverty, there will be refugees.

Hence, solving the refugee crisis will mean solving the related problems of war, repression, hatred, persecution, and other factors that send people running for their lives.

Practicing yoga for self-control.

What is self-control? Self-control can be defined as the exercising of control of our mental, emotional and physical powers in times of temptation or pressure when there is the greatest danger of acting in an unwise or selfish manner.

The value and need of self-control might be illustrated by a car. Its engine may have as little as 35 or as much as 400 horsepower. But important as is the production of power by this engine, equally important is it being controlled, for of what value would a car be if you could not control the speed or the direction in which it traveled? It would be an instrument of death!

The problem of self-control arises because we are capable of using powers wrongly as well as rightly. Even as the forces of nature can cause much harm if not restrained—as witnessed by tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves and lightning—so also with the mental, emotional and physical powers we have, if not controlled, they can cause much harm. Lets mention a few of this harmful effects.

Effects of lack of self-control

A gun on the murder scene with blood stains.

Look where we will, in your neighborhood or in the pages of history, and we see the harmful results from a failure to exercise self-control on the part of men, women, and youths in particular. 

The shocking multiple murders reported in the newspapers and on the radio and TV are instances of persons failing to control a strong impulse to express hatred or frustration by murder.

Failure to exercise self-control accounts for the spread of lifestyle diseases, for the many unwanted pregnancies and not to forget about the widespread marital unhappiness, which results in separations, desertions and divorce.

And what is drunkenness but the result of a failure to exercise control of one’s craving for alcoholic beverages?

How often does a lack of self-control account for an auto accident as when a driver becomes irritated or lets his attention be diverted?

Time and again, research has established, accidents are caused by imprudent behavior on the part of “impulse-dominated personalities of drivers”—those lacking self-control.

The same even applies to one’s daily secular occupation. It may be quite interesting or challenging, or one may find it greatly rewarding because of the money earned or other benefits.

These factors may well cause one to become a compulsive worker, lacking in self-control. Such people often become victims of high blood pressure and suffer heart attacks.

Then again, many persons are unable to exercise self-control in the acquiring of material possessions. Easily influenced by the flattering talk of salespeople, they make unwise purchases and thus become beholden to creditors.

To avoid such harmful effects in your life you will need to have self-control on some important aspects of your life. Let us discuss the three major areas you need self-control.

Control your eating habits

A man holding a hot dog when others look on.

Doubtless the pleasure most widely and most often enjoyed by humans is that of eating. This pleasure might be said to be circumscribed by the principle that ‘we eat to live, we do not live to eat.’

For one thing, this principle should govern your eating, you will want to choose foods that not only please your palate but is also good for you. You will also want to be careful not to starve yourself nor eat more than what is good for you.

Moreover, you should also watch your timing. It is known that heavy meals tend to interfere with concentration and highly skilled activity. 

Even as a professional singer would not want to eat a hearty steak or a turkey dinner just before giving a concert, neither should you do so just before handling a difficult speech assignment. In fact, a hearty meal can also interfere with you enjoying an oral presentation. 

Of course, people plagued with allergies or diabetes, or who are greatly overweight, have all the more reason to watch these principles of quality, quantity and timing when enjoying the pleasure of eating.

Control your pleasures

A man drinking two bottles of beer at the same time.

You may derive much pleasure from pursuing some hobby or form of entertainment. But here, too, you must exercise self-control and put first things first. What if your pleasures is putting you in the bad company of people who are engaging in illegal activities or using harmful drugs?

Or what if your pleasures is too costly, injurious to your health or creating hardship on your family? If this is the case, would it not be appropriate to change to another form of pleasure?

Although duty and pleasure often clash, they do not necessarily need to do so. But when they do, which do you put first? Duty is defined as ‘that which a person is bound by moral obligation to do or not to do, while pleasure is the ‘state of gratification; delight; enjoyment,’ a feeling of being pleased.

What will help you to sharpen your sense of duty and keep pleasures in their proper place? Reason will help. Reason will make you realize that to the extent that you reneged in fulfilling your duties, to that extent you wrong and harm yourself and others. Since you would not want other persons to harm you, you should avoid harming others with your passions.

Control your emotions

A young man making funny faces.

Many people believe that it basically is healthy to “let go” or to “let off steam.” Their view is reinforced by role models in the public eye who seem to ignore self-control of any sort, who simply indulge their impulses.

Many who like professional sports have grown accustomed to wild displays of emotion, even violent rage. Can you not recall, at least from the press, instances where brutal fights or mob scenes erupted at sporting events?

Admittedly, it is not easy to control one’s emotions when one feels slighted, hurt, or treated with prejudice. However, a step toward regaining control of your emotions is to make peace or resolve the cause for complaint, rather than letting animosities persist.

How often offenses are only of a small nature, and are solely due to thoughtlessness, a lack of tact or upbringing or a momentary excitement, and are without evil intent! Therefore, you should not be small-minded when it comes to forgiving others, but, rather, be broad-minded and forgive offenses.

Thus the oncoming dark clouds in your personal relations will be quickly dispersed and the sun will shine again. No one of us is perfect. We all have our imperfections and we are all thankful if others forgive us. But sadly, it is a fact that we usually see the imperfections in others much quicker than in ourselves.

Another quality that is of great help in assisting you exercising control on your emotions is humility. This is because one of the greatest obstacles to self-control is pride. 

The humble person, for one thing, is not easily offended and therefore is not so likely to be tempted to act without self-control. The humble person is more likely to have patience when dealing with others, which makes for self-control.

It takes real self-control to keep your cool and to answer with mildness when others manifests rage (learn how to control your temper), but it is the only wise course, for it smooth’s out difficulties and makes for peaceful relations.


Lack of self-control can lead to many personal disasters. During that interval one may do irreparable damage to one's own life or to the lives of others.

Truly the value and need of self-control can hardly be overemphasized. With it you can rein in your thoughts, words and action, resulting in an healthy body, mind and good relations with others.

A middle-aged man with a warm smile.

Which do you instill: Fear or love? What a contrast between the sunny, heart-warming affection of a fellow human creature and the disquieting, morbid fear of another person!

Deep down in your heart you may want to instill affection in those who you associate with, especially those who are in any measure dependent on you or are accountable to you.

Yet in spite of your best intentions you may do the very opposite. How so?

Why people maybe fear you?

A young lady with a poker face.

It is so easy to instill fear if you are not careful. It may be just by your very facial expression!

When you note another person smiling or wanting to smile, do you keep a poker face (as the picture above Illustrates), remain expressionless or do not reciprocate with a smile?

If you do then you may cause doubt and fear as to whether you are harboring something against that person. How little effort it takes to smile, and yet it can mean so much!

Then again you may instill fear by your very tone of voice. A gruff, harsh voice, a hard, unyielding tone can cow others, causing them to fear you. You may by nature have a harsh, rasping voice or may be putting too much force to back it.

If you do, it would be well for you to give some thought to improving its quality. You can, by watching and exercising self-control, cause it to become more warm and friendly. Through practice you can make it more pleasing to listen to and so have its very sound instill affection instead of fear.

Then again, you may instill fear by appearing to be so occupied that you do not have time for others. Persons having problems may be afraid to come to you because you give them the impression that you are too busy to listen to them. 

They may fear to disturb you, although it may well be that the most important thing you could be doing at the time would be listening to them and offering counsel and encouragement.

Are you impatient? That might also instill fear in others. If you get annoyed at interruptions, tend to get irritable, fly off the handle or make a sharp reply due to lack of self-control, it is very likely that you will instill fear instead of affection. Others, not wanting to be hurt or not wanting to annoy you, will get to fear you, fear lest they cause offense.

One of the most common ways in which you may, wholly unconsciously, instill fear is by you lacking empathy and understand.

How often has this remark been made to you, “Oh, you just don’t understand!” That lack of understanding instills fear in others. It can cause you to form wrong judgments, which can act as a barrier between you and others.

How easy it is to instill fear instead of affection in spite of your intentions if you act thoughtlessly or without understanding! Not that you must always be governed by other people's feelings in order to discharge your duties.

Rather, you want to be as effective as possible in the discharge of them. You know what your responsibilities are, but while recognizing your duties, you can give thought to the manner in which you discharge them. You can be firm on occasion and yet be kind.

There is a time for every purpose under the sun. You do not need to go to the opposite extreme of harshness or ruthlessness or by being wishy-washy. Even when there is need to administer discipline, remember to be slow to anger and to appeal to reason.

Those prone in instilling fear in others 

Angry woman boss yelling at a male employee.

Dictators rule by fear. Fear does not build up, and so, as a rule, the sway of dictators is short-lived. Employers and foremen must be on guard in this respect.

An employer might easily instill fear instead of affection in his employees by holding over them the threat of being discharged, or by being arbitrary and unreasonable. As a result his employees may work only when they are being watched.

Likewise, fathers must exercise care in their relations with those entrusted to their care. Some fathers are prone to instill fear in their families. They may demand implicit obedience and the greatest respect, while failing to show loving concern for their family.

In other families the wife is more likely to instill fear, causing the husband abdicating his role because he wants peace. Sadly, even parents are now yielding their authority to children, fearing them. No wonder there is so much youth anarchy in the world!


Among the happiest people in the world, those who top the list are those who enjoy healthy relationships with others.

If you then want others to love you instead fearing you, then be more considerate on how you treat them also. Life is pleasant indeed when one is treated with consideration and love!

A teenage girl tell others to take note of the littering sign.

Would you throw your trash into your beautiful yard? Would you clutter up your flower bed with empty beer cans? Would you litter your nice green lawn with used tissue, disposable baby diapers, old newspapers and paper bags? Would you chuck rocks in your fish pond? It is most unlikely that you would.

You doubtless have respect for your own property and would definitely object to such behavior occurring in your lovely home. But what about when it comes to public or other peoples property, do you share the same sentiments? Sadly, for many of us this is not the case. Let us illustrate why this is the case.

Littering on public highways

A motorist littering a public highway with trash.

Since you respect your property you would not think of littering it with junk. Do you have the same respect for public highways? It is surprising the number of people that are careful with trash at home, but carelessly throw it out the window of their car when on the highway, heedless to the trashy appearance it gives to the highway and adjoining properties.

This complete disrespect for public property by motorist has forced some states to impose heavy fines for offenders. For example, the picture below shows penalties for littering in Texas:

A sign showing penalties for littering in Texas.

Littering in parks

National parks are places of natural beauty that people will drive thousands of miles to see, yet a number of these people will show complete disrespect for this public property. Sometimes they not only leave a trail of trash through them, but even by scar or destroy things there.

Lets take the example of Yellowstone National Public Park known for its geysers and water pools:

A geyser in Yellowstone National Public Park.

In Yellowstone National Park public disrespect has long been a big problem for rangers that care for the the park. People persist in throwing rubbish into the park’s remarkable geysers and hot pools.

For instance, the Morning Glory Pool was once famed for its crystal-clear waters and delicate coloring. However, people have show so little respect for it that they have throw all sorts of trash into it.

Even after occasional cleaning by the park rangers, the ledges under the surface, naturally white and clean and brilliant beneath the blue water, are now covered with dirty residue as you can see from the picture below:

 Pollution on Morning Glory Pool.

Do such people have any regard for natural beauty and preservation of it for others to enjoy? Evidently they do not!

What about park rules? Do you heed such signs as “No trespassing,” and “Please Don’t Walk on Grass“?

There is the tendency on the part of people who should be mature in their thoughts and actions to justify themselves when the violating of park rules when it serves their immediate interests, such as leaving litter about, or picnicking on the grass where they are not supposed to.

But, really, they are either unthinking or with a misguided attitude of self-importance, consider themselves above a particular rule. 

Graffiti, vandalism and damaging property

Never in our history has public vandalism been more prevalent than it is today. Museums and other public intuitions that favor visitors are constant subjects to theft, pilferage and other wanton acts too vulgar to emulate.

There also other individuals that seems to take delight in defacing public property. They seem to think they must blaze a trail wherever they go by writing, spraying graffiti, scratching their initials or remarks on public walls. They may not think so, but they are vandals. Just look at some of their art works below:

Graffiti and writings on the wall of a residential building.

This habit certainly does not show respect for property that is not yours. If you must doodle, then carry a piece of paper with you for that purpose.

The property rights of others deserve attention also when you are staying as a guest at a hotel. Are you as careful of the furniture and of the linens as if they were those of your own home? You should be.

A manager of one of largest hotels keenly regretted that he could not afford to install quality furnishings, as he would like to, because of the abuse that guests accord such things.

The same applies if you are a guest at the home of a friend or relative. Your host may be in an expansive mood and offer you the run of the house, but it would be best for you to give more than the usual care to your surroundings.

Otherwise you might carelessly damage something that has not only monetary but also sentimental value, which may result in your own embarrassment and in the injury of your host.

And should you have a mishap, show your respect for the property of your host by having the moral courage to mention it and express your regrets. Do not leave your host to discover it after you leave.

Public library books

How about books you borrow from the public library? Do you take care of them or do you deface them by marking them up? Many individuals would never dream of marking up a public wall yet they may find themselves defacing a library book by underlining words or making comments in the margins.

Underlining words and marks on a library book.

But ask yourself, what right do I have to mark up a book that does not belong to me? It is just as much an act of vandalism as is the practice of tearing out pages of library books. Such practices clearly show that we do not respect public property.

Forgetful borrowers

A young man borrowing a book from the library.

Chances are that you faithfully return the library books you borrow because of the penalties imposed, but can it be said of the things you borrow from friends or neighbors? Are you one of those individuals that can find time to borrow something but can never find time to return it?

Usually many people have good intentions to return items they borrow, but because they fail to do so as soon as they are through with them, they are forgotten. If the lender does not remind them, they may lie among their possessions so long that they imagine they are their own.

If you respect another person’s property you will see to it that what you borrow is returned promptly. It should not be necessary for the owner to come and claim it. Forgetful borrowers are in a sense dishonest because they fail to keep their promise to return what they borrowed.

So when you borrow something, do not put it away where it can be forgotten, leave it out in the open so that you will be reminded to take it back. Do not wait for a convenient opportunity to do so. Make special effort to return the borrowed item. In that way you will demonstrate that you have respect for property that is not yours.


Hence, let us all endeavor not to misuse, damage or deface property that is not ours. Avoid littering public property with trash and conscientiously return whatever we borrow. If all people live by these code of standards, then this world will become an ideal place to live in.

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