How to deal with mean people

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A while back a friend said something hurtful to me.  It seemed like such a small thing...just a few passing comments.  And for her, I’m sure, it was a small thing.  A few words that she did not think about beyond the moments that they came out of her mouth.

But for me, it was huge.  It hurt me.  It embarrassed me.  It made me feel insecure.  And then it made me mad because it hurt and embarrassed me and made me feel insecure.  I was so angry for letting it do that.  Angry because I saw myself as a confident and strong woman and if I let it impact me, it meant that I wasn’t that woman.  That anger and those feelings stayed with me and no matter what I did, I couldn’t let them go completely.  

My mission became understanding why this person, or any person, could make me feel so bad and how I could fix it!  I read articles, I talked to people I trusted and admired, and I looked within myself for an answer.  

This is what I realized.  

People are mean sometimes. They are mean for all kinds of reasons.  Usually it’s something to do with their own issues and has nothing to do with you.  No matter how old you are or how confident or secure, it hurts.  Denying that it hurts won’t make it go away.  So what do you do to make it go away?

First thing you do is deal with it.  You look it straight in the eye.  And accept it.  Recognize the pain, the embarrassment, the anger, the sadness and understand that it's OK to feel these things without being weak.   It sucks but it’s part of being a human being.

Then deal with the person that was unkind.  They may seem confident and strong but behind that facade, they are probably wounded and fighting their own battle.  See them not as the lion but as the scared cat that roars to keep itself safe.  

Finally, show compassion for that person by wishing them well.  When you think of them, send them thoughts of health and happiness.  This will release your own hurt feelings.  Just like forgiving someone that has done you wrong.  It helps you release the sadness and anger from your heart.  And replaces that space with compassion.

Of course, it’s easier said than done.  And takes some practice.  But it works.  Kindness always helps.  Kindness to others and yourself.