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It’s true: people can be jerks.
And in their perpetual jerkiness, they will sometimes cause you discomfort when they get under your skin.
The problem is that many people will not care enough about your feelings to curb their behavior for comfort. They may not see it as a problem because their emotional landscape is different, or, as previously stated, they may just be jerks.
But you can’t walk through life letting other people get to you like that. You need to be the one to shore up your defenses so you can get through life without other people disturbing your peace. Once you harden your own defenses, you can just let their words slide off your back as you move through life.
Naturally, it’s not an easy thing to do and will take some practice. You’ll have to work at it regularly. But, sooner or later, you’ll find that their words have little to do with you.
How do you attain that peace of mind?
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you if you are finding that the words and actions of others often get to you. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. Create and enforce boundaries.
Healthy boundaries are the most important part of a healthy relationship. Why? Well, healthy boundaries teach other people how you want to be treated and provide a consequence if they do not respect the boundary. This is because people have different tolerances for what they want in their lives and how they want to be treated.
So, for example, two friends may be fine with roasting each other because they find the bickering and bantering back and forth hilarious. However, their third friend may not appreciate that dynamic because they find that the words sting. It’s perfectly reasonable for the first two friends to enjoy that banter. It’s also reasonable for the third friend to not want to be included in that. Hopefully, the first two friends will honor the wishes of their third friend to not fire rough language at them.
But that’s not always how it works. Sometimes people find that their personalities just don’t jive with one another. That’s where boundaries enter the picture.
A person with healthy boundaries will look at a situation, determine that it’s not for them, and choose to walk away. You can’t control what other people do, but you can control which people stay in your life. You may find that it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with the person if they disturb your peace and do not respect your wishes.
2. Understand and live according to your values.
Everyone has values that they live by. Unfortunately, not many people take the time to sit down, think about their values, and consider how they want to apply them to their lives. Understanding your values allows you to guide your life in a way that makes sense to you and frees you from unnecessary conflict with others.
You know your values; why do you need to argue about them? Why do you care what this other random person thinks? What difference does it make?
At first glance, it may appear that we are saying to avoid conflict altogether. That’s not what we’re saying. What you aim for is to avoid unnecessary conflict. Conflict is a necessary part of the human experience because people will always want to impose their point of view on others. There will always be people that want to push in on your boundaries that you will need to push back on.
The best, most relevant example of curbing unnecessary conflict is to not waste your breath arguing on the internet and social media. People always do this, and it means nothing to anyone. All it actually does is allow other people to disturb your peace. Furthermore, it depletes your emotional reserve for necessary conflicts that do arise.
3. Be upfront about your values.
One of the quickest ways to create peace with other people is to be upfront about your values. Of course, you don’t need to bang the drum and shout your beliefs from the rooftops. However, when someone does something that conflicts with your values, you can inform them why you’re not cool with it. Then, they have an option on how to respond.
Sometimes, people will be interested in a different point of view and want to understand yours. People who don’t want to do that will typically move on to something else. They may not be interested in hearing other perspectives or trying to see an issue from a different direction. You can try arguing it, but that rarely goes anywhere. Once anger hits the table, the conversation typically becomes unproductive and unenjoyable.
Let these individuals censor themselves from your life. It’s okay to let go of people who don’t fit your life.
4. Choose optimism.
Optimism is a difficult topic to discuss because it seems to be most often talked about by pessimists and cynics masquerading as realists. There are few things that a pessimist loves more than to crap all over an optimist.
The truth is that our perspective of the world is often shaded by our optimism or pessimism. The color of that shade affects everything that we’re looking at. For example, if you turn on the news, you see every terrible thing going on in the world and how awful people are to each other. There seems to be an unending stream of wars, death, poverty, chaos, and struggles.
But what you don’t see are the massive number of people donating to charity, putting in countless hours of work to try to improve the lives of others, or even just taking a few seconds to be kind to another person.
To be optimistic, a person doesn’t need to be willfully ignorant or stupid. Optimism can be as simple as believing that many people are genuinely doing the best they can and trying to make things better. That point of view is just as real as looking at all the horror in the world and concluding that it is the truth.
People are much easier to navigate when you go into a situation assuming they are trying their best. It’s much easier to stay calm even while dealing with negativity.
5. Own your emotions.
“Mark made me feel…”
Really? Did they hold a gun to your head and force you to feel whatever negative emotions you’re experiencing? The answer is most likely no.
You are in charge of your emotions. You are also in charge of who you allow into your life to affect your emotions. That’s what boundaries are for. The only person you can control is yourself. If you find that another person is causing you negative feelings, you need to ask what you can do about it.
Can you talk to the person about their behavior? Do you need to limit your time with them or remove them from your life?
Remember, you can’t control anyone else. All you have control over is what you do about the situation. You need to be the one to create a change if you don’t like how these other people are acting toward you and they don’t care about your feelings.
6. Don’t take responsibility for others.
The flip side of taking total responsibility for your feelings is stopping taking responsibility for others.
The best you can ever do is to help someone along their own path. You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want. You can’t force someone to improve a negative perception of life. You can’t force someone to be kind or understanding who simply isn’t.
All you can do is accept the person for who they are and respond accordingly. People constantly try to force the responsibility for their own problems onto others. Don’t let yourself receive that energy.
“Oh, if only you did this, then I would be happy…”
“Why can’t you do this if you want me to treat you better…?”
It’s not your responsibility to make other people happy, no matter how much they try to put that onto you. You aren’t their caretaker. They need to be responsible for their own emotions.
7. Let people make their own mistakes.
How often do you look at the actions of another person and think, “Oh! If only they had done X instead of Y!” It can be frustrating to watch someone you care about making really obvious mistakes or bad decisions. Still, those decisions are theirs to make.
It’s not up to you to force people to make a decision you would have made.
And notice that we didn’t say the “right decision” in that previous statement. Right decisions differ from person-to-person. What may be the right decision for you may not be the right decision for that other person. People need to be able to make their own decisions and mistakes.
Frankly, making mistakes is how you gain more wisdom in the world.
You don’t have to spend your time frustrated, angry, or bothered by the actions of others if you just accept that they will make their own decisions. Don’t waste your time trying to save them from themselves if they don’t want the help. It will cause unnecessary conflict that you shouldn’t need to deal with.
8. Let them think what they want.
“This person is wrong! I need to correct them!”
Yeah? Why? Because they’re wrong? Let them be wrong if they want to be wrong.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with trying to share a bit of correct information with someone who may not have the right idea. But unfortunately, a lot of people have a difficult time with being corrected.
That kind of thing requires humility and a willingness to listen. Not everyone has those qualities. Don’t let it bother you if someone wants to be comfortable in their ignorance. Granted, a lot of ignorance is harmful out in the world. There are people creating lies and false narratives to vilify others. That, most definitely, needs to be argued with and pushed back against.
But for smaller things? For things that people refuse to budge on? You have a choice in how to handle those things. Don’t waste your time and emotional energy trying to correct people that don’t want to be correct.
2+2=5? The sky is green? Fine, whatever. Get on with your day, and don’t let these people disturb your peace.
9. You don’t need to have an opinion.
You always have the option to just not have an opinion. Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything, but there’s a problem. How many of those opinions are actually informed?
Grab the most random person you can find and ask them about their opinion on the economy, politics, science…whatever. Chances are pretty good they will have an opinion to share. Never mind that they haven’t read so much as one book on the thing. Never mind that all they know about the thing are the words other people are repeating. Never mind that their information came from one biased source that may or may not be reputable.
You don’t have to have an opinion on everything. For example, for some reason, many Americans have strong opinions on the problems in the Middle East and the Israel-Palestinian situation. And for some reason, we tend to think that we know better than people who have lived in that situation for their entire lives, those who study the region’s politics, and those who have been working there for decades.
What kind of meaningful, informed opinion can a majority of Americans have about the problems in the Middle East? Of course, most people know what their biased news sources have told them. Still, plenty of people will be more than happy to argue about it, tell you that you’re stupid and wrong, and that they are obviously right.
Shrug and move on. You don’t need to have an opinion. In fact, it’s better to admit something like, “I don’t know enough about that to have an informed opinion.” then get on with your day. Don’t get roped into the rage and chaos of pointless anger.
10. Know that it’s okay to be bothered.
Many people are looking for this zen-like state of completely being unbothered by the world and other people. That’s just not realistic for the vast majority of people. Human beings have emotions. Emotions are sometimes messy and sloppy. No matter how much peace you create around yourself, what you cultivate in yourself, and how you navigate other people, there will be times when other people get to you.
It’s impossible to avoid it completely with all of the stuff going on in the world, at home, in your workplace, anywhere and everywhere that has humans.
It’s okay to be bothered at times. You’re not a robot.
Don’t tear yourself down just because you have emotions or think you can attain this perfect state of being okay with the uglier parts of the world. In fact, you shouldn’t be okay with people’s uglier aspects.
Still not sure how to not let people get to you? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.
We really recommend you speak to a therapist rather than a friend or family member. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to figure out why you are so bothered by what other people say and do and provide tailored guidance to allow you to reduce the related thoughts and feelings.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
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- 11 Things You Can Do When Your Feelings Are Hurt
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