Do you ever get down when people are mean to you? And do people get to you in some situations? If so, it’s time to stop giving others permission to harm you.
I’ve been blogging since 2015. During that time, I’ve received hundreds of nasty comments and emails. I’m not talking about people who give constructive feedback. Because I get that too.
And that’s one of my favorite things. Sometimes thoughtful people take the time to write back. I often learn from that and use the feedback to improve my articles. But I also get messages from people who are straight-up sour. One of my readers recently asked me about how I deal with those types of negative people:
“I recently started working. This is my first job and people are mean. I know you said in your books that external things should not matter to you and that you should let go of things that are out of your control. But it’s hard. I know I shouldn’t react but it still bothers me.”
My reader is referring to what I’ve written about not letting people harm you. I’m inspired by Marcus Aurelius who said:
“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.”
That’s the foundation of dealing with all external things in life. We must realize that we are the controller of our own minds. If we tell ourselves that we have been hurt, then that’s true.
But if we tell ourselves we haven’t been hurt, we haven’t been. This means you do not acknowledge that other people can harm you. It’s simply not possible that people can harm you.
It’s all about not giving others the power to influence the way you think about yourself. Here’s an email I received the other day about something similar:
“I’m surrounded by a person who is very negative and arrogant. I can’t avoid the person because she’s my roommate. Whenever I talk of something positive say, “I like white. It’s such a peaceful colour”, she’d quickly say, “Oh! I hate white”. Many more situations like this have been affecting me in many ways. Please suggest me a way on how to deal with such people. Any insights would be highly appreciated.”
We all know people who behave like that. Nothing is good enough for them. And they always have a different opinion about everything. They take everything seriously and are impossible to have a conversation with.
They get worked up about minor things. They want you to respond to them. They feed off your energy. As a result, your energy runs out and they feel better. If you realize that, you will never give these people your time and attention again.
Life is too short to get worked up for no reason
Some people are simply bitter. And there’s nothing you can do to change that. So when I deal with a negative person in real life or get a hateful email, I realize they are not well.
A healthy person never lashes out or behaves in a nasty way. And if they do, they instantly apologize. We can all have a bad day, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But some people are just plain hateful. In those cases, you must realize there’s something wrong with them. That helps you to detach from the situation.
Sometimes, it’s not even their fault they act a certain way. Maybe they are ill. You just can’t tell. All this means that you should never take it personally when people lash out, are mean, or are out to hurt you.
If people want to hate, let them soak in their own misery. If you catch yourself responding to their negative energy, that’s not a big deal. It happens to me as well. When I get hate mail, I sometimes respond even though I know it’s a waste of energy.
But I stopped allowing others to influence my mood. I detach from the situation. It’s not personal. It never is.
Just move on. If you practice that enough, you no longer have to say it, you just move on because life doesn’t wait for anything.