Last week, for the first time, I got a scathing review on Airbnb from one of my hosts in Berlin. I was utterly shocked since I’ve always had glowing reviews from my hosts. We did our best to respect her space, tip-toeing around her apartment and being as neat as possible. However, long story short, she still wrote an extremely hateful review of us. It truly hurt me to my core to be called “ignorant” and “respectless” by this woman when I pride myself in being very respectful to my hosts. It hurts when someone sees you in such a different light than you see yourself, and it took me several days to process all of my emotions ranging from complete rage at this injustice to bitterness and sadness. I kept replaying scenes in my head wishing I could erase them or change something to ameliorate the situation. But ultimately, I had to accept that I couldn’t change the past. I could only change my own reaction and my future actions. In responding to her review, I wanted to stoop to her level and blast her like she had us, but in the end, I decided to take the higher path to reflect my highest self.

I thought I’d share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned/recalled from this experience so at least some good can come from this:

  • Our tongues are like swords. We can use them to knight people with praise or cut them down. Like with any martial art form, once we’ve been equipped with the tools to protect ourselves, we must be that much more cognizant of our own power, taking extra care not to abuse our tools or hurt someone else because they have hurt us. We should be impeccable with our words, choosing each one carefully so we only say what we really mean.
  • There is no use in replaying past events over and over as we can’t erase or change events. We can only use our reflections to minimize the likelihood that a negative outcome will occur again in the future.
  • Not everyone will like us or see our perspective. We can’t please everyone, and that isn’t our purpose in life. We have to be true to ourselves even if that means pissing some people off sometimes. Our goal isn’t to make everyone love us. We need to learn to love ourselves from the inside out so we don’t look for external sources of validation for our own self worth.
  • We can’t change how other people feel, only our own reaction. We should take the higher road to reflect our highest self. This can be EXTREMELY difficult especially when we know we’re in the right or have been treated unjustly, but if we can treat the other person better than they treated us, and refrain from retaliating, then we can be proud that we are rising to our highest level.
  • Focus our negative energy into a more positive outcome. I personally channeled my rage at being misjudged into a super kickass workout! If I just sulked and wallowed in my emotions for days, I’d feel like I’m letting this antagonistic person “win” in ruining my day or week. I wasn’t going to let anyone do that, so I decided I’d do some kickboxing to let out my stress and anger, and then move on to have an incredible day!

We’re human, and it hurts to be misjudged or seen in a negative light. However, these circumstances are good practice for being our best and highest selves, acting the way we would like to be treated. As Aristotle once said,

Here’s to habituating ourselves to be our most excellent, impeccable and highest selves!