Not everyone you meet in your life will be easy going, light hearted, friendly, and warm. Some will be difficult, unpleasant, extremely rude, outright miserable and hard to handle.
For many people, even the usual friendly, kind people, the natural reaction is to respond with the same coldness and angry temperament that the difficult person dishes out.
This doesn’t mean they are bad or unkind people for responding or wanting to respond that way, it’s just that other people’s moods and attitudes often impact or influence our own.
But it doesn’t always have to be that way. We can choose to rise above the negativity of others.
I work at a store and most of my customers are extremely kind and friendly and so grateful for my service and very expressing of that gratitude.
And even the few people who aren’t the friendliest are not usually blatantly rude or difficult.
But on extremely rare occasions I get one who is.
A few weeks ago I was training a new girl and a man, who is an old man, came for ice cream. There was a misunderstanding and he gave me way too much money and walked away without his change. I called him back and gave him his change and he started yelling very bitterly that he should actually get back more change.
He left very angry. And I was so annoyed and felt a surge of anger at him.
Then he recently came back very angry and loud and yelled “Give me two small ice creams you hear me!!!! Two small ice creams!!!”. His attitude was lousy.
But I was in no mood to react angrily or be rude to him. I just saw him as a person with desires and needs and I smiled at him and got what he wanted. I made it easy for him to carry his ice cream by putting them in a small box. I asked him if he needed napkins and my tone was very friendly. Genuinely friendly. I felt compassion for him. He is a person with needs and desires, no less worthy of compassion and kindness than I am.
I was amazed when his face lit up and he smiled at me brightly. He said “Have a great night, hun!”. And was very friendly as he was leaving.
His whole expression and physical movements changed. He became lighter and softer. All because my interaction with him was pleasant.
Imagine if I would have perpetuated the hostility with a bitter tone. It would have made him more bitter, more negative, more hostile. Which in turn, could have made me more angry. And on and on.
I would have never seen his good side and he would have not seen mine. I gave us both the chance to truly see each other.
He came back another night and was friendly as can be. Smiling and happily greeting me. Sometimes people get the wrong impression of another person or mis judge or make inaccurate assumptions based on things that are not true or real or what they seem.
People should not act on first judgments but they often do. We should not assume something and act before knowing but sometimes that is exactly what we do.
Maybe the man got the wrong impression of me for whatever reason and reacted based on his thoughts or feelings about it.
But it’s my job to show him who I really am. So that’s what I did.
Things will not always go this smoothly. Some people will be bitter and negative towards you no matter how kind, gentle, and warm you are with them. That’s just the way some people are. But you do not have to react back that way.
But the choice is yours.
You are not a horrible person for coming back at people or resorting to angry comments or even slinging an insult now and then.
While there are better ways to handle unpleasant situations, we occasionally (or maybe even often) may get caught up in the heat of that moment and react negatively or non effectively.
Sometimes I feel like reacting negatively to people when they are difficult and unkind.
Then I remember this quote :
“Don’t treat people as bad as they are. Treat them as good as you are.” ~ Unknown
And it inspires warmth in me. It’s not only treating that person well but being true to myself. I can be above treating people horribly or negatively. There will always be rude and bitter people and I believe that is ok.
There are various kinds of people in this life. Not all of them good and pleasant. We can’t and should not control anyone but ourselves. We can make attempts to influence and impact one another for the better but that’s all.
Try to influence negative people with your positivity not let their negativity influence you.
It’s good to be affected by others. Both negatively and positively. It makes us fully alive. Who wants to walk around like a zombie or robot and be shielded, completely, against the world? Not letting anyone in?
People are good and bad. The world is good and bad. Life itself is good and bad. And being affected is part of living.
But we can work to not allow ourselves to be too worked up, destroyed, or depressed or anxious over the thoughts, actions, and feelings of others.
There’s an amazing book called, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it’s all small stuff) by Richard Carlson
And in this book one of the author’s suggestions to help us feel more compassion for difficult people is to imagine them as a newborn infant or a 100 year old person who has not much longer to live.
At one point all of us were newborn children and if we are blessed enough, at one point we will be very old. The man feels that this may put things in perspective for us.
Babies and very old people need and deserve love, warmth, and compassion
And their age often reminds us of that.And we can work to extend that to others of all ages when they are troubling us.
Remember when you get caught up in other people’s bitterness, negativity, cruelty, and anger, at least you are not them!
I hope you are having an amazingly beautiful day full of love & light & laughter! 😀
” When you are in an upsetting situation, try loving everyone involved and pray for them, hard as they may be. Loving doesn’t mean sentimentality but rather a rational esteem for them as persons.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale