Have you ever had anyone take a potshot at you?
Have you ever had to field comments like:
“Your hair looks beautiful … did you color it yourself?”
“Looks like you’ve picked up a little bit of weight, huh?”
“Have you always been such an air-head?”
Last week, a individual sent me a FB message that I was a Heretic — wow. Another pastor buddy of mine has been taking pot shots for taking a unpopular stand- so where is the Grace ?
All of those pot shots are verbal attacks meant to insult us, demean us, criticize us, or upset us. If we’re not careful we may react to these barbs by getting angry, feeling resentful, or saying something we’ll regret later. We may even take a few pot shots at someone else ourselves…. ” help me Lord !!”
But here are the truths underlying pot shots: they are usually delivered by someone who is jealous of you, intimidated by you in some way, or angry at themselves.
Where did the term “Potshot” come from?
Originally, a ‘pot’ shot was literally a shot taken by a hunter at game merely for the purpose of an easy kill. The shot taken was generally an easy one, with the game being so close that it took the sportsmanship out of the hunt. They were shots that gave the hunter not only an unfair advantage, but an unethical, immoral, unprincipled advantage.
The phrase ‘pot shot’ was first used to describe a “verbal attack” in 1926.
Today the phrase ‘pot shot’ generally refers to any blow, physical or verbal, that is not easy to fend off or avoid. For example, in boxing, a low blow below the belt would be a pot shot – and in the office, a coworker’s snide remark in a meeting would be a pot shot.
Pot shots can only make us fair game if we allow them to rub us the wrong way. We must remind ourselves that pot shots are only attitudes tossed our way….pot shots don’t belong to us … it belongs to the person shooting them. People’s anger, their hatred, their false assumptions, their resentments, their fears, and their disrespect belong to them.
I want to share a couple of powerful tools to help you with your potshot management.
Tool #1: How do you know it’s a Pot Shot?
We don’t ever want to close ourselves off from the opportunity to grow from good feedback, so how do we know when we are hearing legitimate information and when it’s a pot shot? Think of the word pot: POT. Pot shots typically are:
P = Personal. (Aimed at you, rather than focused on information or growth)
O = Obnoxious or Offensive (rather than informative and helpful)
T = Twisted to hit your emotional “buttons” (Of course, we know no one can push our “buttons” – we get to chose our emotions.)
Tool #2: Once you know it’s a Pot Shot, how do you handle it?
Once again, think of the word POT:
P = Pause. Take a deep breath – allow the Holy Spirit to give you a download before you say or do anything! Just breath Papa God into the moment and connect with your Christ washed heart center.
O = Open your mind to consider what is being said. Is there any truth there? Is there something I want to explore further? Is there an opportunity for a discussion? Can I behold the Christ in this person, in the midst of their pot shot?
T = Trust your heart center … your Spirit man. Release the emotional knee-jerk reaction and listen to your heart. Respond from that place of love. You might be guided to ask for more information: “Could you give me an example?” or “Tell me more about this.”
You might be guided to share some detailed response (sometimes a pot shot can turn into an opportunity where someone really is searching for more, but they are afraid.); or — you might be guided to just smile, thank them for sharing, and walk away.
This is actually a spiritual choice shared by Jesus as the Christ, in Matthew 10:14, when He tells his disciples: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” From a metaphysical perspective, this is literally shaking off the negativity or “pot shots” zinged at us by others.
Tool #3: Eliminate Personal Pot Shots
The most important – and dangerous – (this is why I left this till last) – are the pot shots we throw at ourselves! You know what we’re talking about!
Those “I’m not zingers” like, “I’m not worthy; I’m not deserving; I’m not good enough;
The “I’m Too … zingers”: I’m too __ (old, young, poor, fat, stupid…); and
The “all-inclusive zingers”, like I never get…; this always happens to me…; no one ever helps me…”
Open your mind to the Truth of who you really are and Trust in the promises and proclamations of Papa God!!
Listen for that still small voice from within, reminding you that you have everything you need to master the art of living, and you can handle any ‘pot shot’ anyone chooses to throw because you know the Truth … you have the Power of Spiritual Gifts and Principles working for you at the highest possible levels of Consciousness … You are worthy … you are Divine … you are Gods creation and child !
Just behold the Divine within each of those ‘pot shot’ throwers. And above all, be fair without being fair game … as you walk the spiritual path on practical feet!