Have you ever heard the children’s verse “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”? Or, Eleanor Roosevelt’s comment “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
Let’s start with the thought that you are absolutely worthy being treated with respect. It is a starting point rather than an ending point. What if that respect is hard to come by? What if the people that you work, play, or live with don’t give you the respect that you crave or feel that you deserve? Whatever you do, you must avoid the tendency to internalize things that you cannot control. I learned a long time ago that letting someone else under my skin means that I am conceding the control of my situation to them. Trust me, if you concede control, the person or persons on the other side of the situation will take it.
It is critical that you develop a thick skin. There is something to be said for the old adage, “let it roll off like water off a ducks back.” When someone is being difficult, here are some techniques to help you deal with those events that can or do put you off your game.
- Move on. Make it about you. Far too many of us internalize the behaviour of others. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. It is all about them. I will give you that sometimes that it is all about us. We, as individuals, are capable of being cranky and hard to get along with. Sometimes, we just need to apologize and move on. My mother used to say “Can you fix it? No, move on. Yes, then what are the steps to fix it? Then, fix it.”
- Think for yourself. If only I had a brain, well you do. “If only I could just” are the words that are used to justify capitulation. You must think for yourself. In fact, it is the only defense mechanism that you have short of any action that you get you put in jail. No one else can think for you. No one else can change your world. Only you can. Remember. Just because someone is being odious, you must take the high ground and not react. The upside is that you will confuse them. I consider that a win.
- Protect yourself. The best possible form of self-protection is not to bite. Imagine for just a minute, the immense impact of silence. I have learned over time to keep my mouth shut and my fingers away from the keyboard. In today’s world, a good reminder is “Just because you can say it, doesn’t mean that you should.” The source of the keep my mouth shut and my brain engaged was my Regimental Sargeant Major. He was absolutely obnoxious. He was sure there was a place for women and it wasn’t in the military. He made it known to anyone who would listen. I could hear my father in my head, “Remember, success is the greatest revenge”. He was right.
- Intervene on your own behalf. If you see someone being bullied, do something. If you are being bullied, do something. The status quo is unacceptable. It is often easier for us to take action on behalf of someone else. Take action for you. Self-intervention is a skill that is hard to learn. It requires a pause rather than a reaction. There are days when I would rather just tell someone what I think than keep my own counsel. But, keep my own counsel I must.
My Rule 9 Challenge for you:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Your ability to react in a measured and calm way is based entirely on your ability to observe your surroundings and react appropriately.
- Notice behaviour online or in person. Take action. Remove yourself from toxic situations. It is okay to un-follow someone or even unfriend them. It is okay to fire toxic contacts. It is what the delete key is for.
- Identify one interaction that you had this week. Did you feel offended? Why? What did you do about the situation? What did you learn?
- Plan your strategy to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
- As always, celebrate.
You are your most important advocate. Never, let anyone change your view of yourself or your world. It is solely yours to guard, defend, change, and enjoy.
Have an absolutely amazing week.
Quotes of the Week
“Do not get angry because others question what you believe, be calm and loving, for anger is the root of a faulty belief.” Leon Brown
“First of my own personal requirements is inner calm. This, I think, is an essential. One of the secrets of using your time well is to gain a certain ability to maintain peace within yourself so that much can go on around you and you can stay calm inside.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“… what would Poirot do? Poirot wouldn’t flap around in a panic. He’d stay calm and use his little grey cells and recall some tiny, vital detail which would be the clue to everything.” ~ Sophie Kinsella