It happens to all of us. We allow someone else’s negative behavior to affect our own lives. Whether it is a co-worker’s bad attitude at work, a bad driver on your way home, a mean-spirited social media post, or something someone said in anger, we allow another person’s actions to affect our lives. I say STOP! We all have conflict surrounding us, but we do not have to allow it to rob us of happiness and to negatively impact our world.
Here are some things that I try to keep in mind when I feel someone else’s poor attitude seeping into my world:
- Most of the time it has nothing to do with you, so try to let it go. As far as I am concerned, I am the center of my own universe, just as you are the center of your universe. That does not mean that someone else’s actions have anything to do with me. Most likely, your reaction has zero impact on them; your reaction only affects your world.
- Evaluate your role in the behavior. Since your behavior is the only one that you can control, examine how you play a role. Is there something that I did that caused someone to act this way? Was I not paying attention to the road and that is why someone blew their horn? Did I say something in a manner that offended someone? I do not condone hurtful actions from someone else, but I have to make sure that I did not cause it.
- Either choose to live with this behavior or live without it. Odds are that you cannot change a person’s behavior. If their actions are causing you pain, then stop inflicting pain on yourself. Be prepared to walk away, and stay away. If you cannot avoid this person (co-workers or employer), then limit your exposure and let go of thinking of them. Much easier said than done.
- Get help if you need. Seek advice from loved ones or a professional. That’s what friends are there for! Objective points of view can shed some light on grey areas.
- Do not be an enabler. If you lend money to someone and they do not pay you back, but you then lend them some more money, is it their fault in thinking they do not have to pay you back? Trust me, you’re not helping them; you’re trying to control them.
I have a young son and I know that he is always watching how my husband and I react to situations. I make it a point to not allow someone else’s issues or poor behavior to negatively affect me. I keep the hurtful people that I have to deal with at arm’s length and choose to surround myself with only those that are supportive and positive. I think that this is rubbing off on my son and his decisions. He knows that there are hurtful and mean-spirited kids in school that he has to put up with, but he does not allow them to affect his day, most of the time. I want him, as well as anyone reading this, to be choosey as to who and what you let affect you, because your world is the only one that you can control. Hopefully, this will allow him to make good life choices as he gets older.
“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.”