Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't take it personally

Whenever someone is rude or nasty to you, it isn't because of you, it is because they themselves are hurting.  The flip side is that when someone is nice or kind to you, it isn't because of you either, it is because they themselves are happy.

Regardless of whether you like or dislike a person, on a good day, you can deal with almost anything.  On a bad day, pictures of kittens can set you off.

We all have a tendency to project our feelings onto others and to let our feelings affect the way we respond to and treat others.  We also have a strong tendency to personalize the way we are treated.  It is natural to be self centered in this way.  The problem is that this creates a self perpetuating system.  

A person having a bad day mistreats the barista at Starbucks who internalizes it and projects it onto the next customer who does the same and takes his bad attitude to work causing all of his colleagues to have a less than productive day.  

The solution is two-fold.  Don't take it personally.  Do something nice.

Realize that someone's bad attitude is not your fault but rather their own pain, and that you are just the whipping boy.  

Recognize that others do not share your new found level of self actualization.  Do something nice, especially when you are hurting; from a headache, bad day, spilt coffee, or just tired.  You can break the cycle and start a new positive one.  It can be as simple as holding a door and exchanging a smile.  

What nice thing will you do today?