Recently I’ve had some challenges with the negative behaviors and attitudes of a handful of other people. I usually like to refer to these challenges as “opportunities for making better choices”. This little twist of the phrase makes me feel more empowered when other people don’t react as I would expect. The challenging attitudes and behaviors are not as important as the way that I have chosen to react to them.
The way that we respond to others both negatively and positively is a choice. We can choose to play the victim spouting excuses such as “they pushed my buttons” or that we “couldn’t control ourselves”, but I have found these statements to be untrue.
We do have control over how we respond to others, both positively and negatively. We can allow the actions of others to cause us to respond negatively, however; I have personally never found negativity to be all that satisfying.
I struggle daily to do the right thing in difficult situations. Here are some tips that have helped me:
- Take a deep breath and count to 10 before you speak: this gives you a moment to think through what you are about to say.
- Fight off negative thoughts: A first reaction can be to “get back at” those who have wronged you because after all “they deserve it”. Responding to someone who has wronged you with a reactionary wrong makes you both WRONG!
- If you react negatively – apologize: This is challenging, however; if being reactionary is not who you want to be then the right thing to do is apologize.
- You cannot take back your words once they are spoken: Think before you speak, make sure that what comes out of your mouth is representative of who you are and your relationship to the other person.
- Remove yourself from the situation: Sometimes it’s best to just walk away and clear your head.
- Clarify what the other person means – Ask questions: The other person may be responding to something that has nothing to do with you. Maybe they have pressure at work or in their marriage that you are not aware of. You don’t know what’s going on with someone else until you ask.
We see people in the media every day who have gained celebrity status by doing the wrong thing. Choosing to do the right thing will never get us our own reality show. (How boring would that show be? People, dressed in non-revealing clothes, spending their day doing the right thing and helping others – YAWN! Boring!!!). However; it will create a more manageable stress level and increased sense of peace.
So for those of you who will choose to do the right thing in the face of negativity and the bad behavior of those around you, I say BRAVO and WELL DONE!!
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