It is very easy to get upset because what we think is happening. What we need to remember, is what we think is happening, might not be what is actually happening. We can only know what we know. We can’t know what is going on in other people’s head. This causes – distorted perspectives.
Most of the time, when I talk to someone who is upset, they are very wedded to their view of what is happening. They are upset, they are the victim, the other person must change for things to get better.
The first thing I think is – well, if you are going to wait on someone else to change before you are happy, you will be waiting a long time. Never in the history of humanity as this approach – worked. This isn’t to say that the other person isn’t behaving badly. They probably are. But if you wait for them to change, you can be waiting for a long long long time.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something. it just means, you don’t have the ability to change them. Mostly, because your focus on how they are impacting you is preventing you from learning what it is that is going on with them.
Changing the Problem
The reason I keep teaching compassion, is because as soon as you focus on compassion, you stop feeling hurt. The problem changes from how do I make them change to be nicer to me, which isn’t solvable to, how can I stop them from hurting me, which is.
People behave badly for a variety of reasons. Most of the time, the bad behavior has nothing to do with the person it is targeted at. The target is convenient or safe. It’s why kids who are upset because something happened at school – come home and yell at their parents.
Heck- the other day, a troll circle spun out on a post of mine. They were applauding each other for insulting me. Their insults about me, had nothing to do with me. It was just a group of young men, trying to be cool for one another. None of these people know me, and that was why they felt safe insulting me. There is no reason for me to take it personally, their behavior has nothing to do with me and everything to do with their insecurities.
My point? If you change your perspective from – why are they doing this to ME??? to – Why are they behaving badly – you no longer need to feel hurt. And that’s powerful.
If a bully is trying to make you upset, the way you beat them – is to genuinely not care about what they have said about you. Because – it’s not about you. It’s about them and their inability to behave well.
So the next time you find yourself spinning in your own head about something – try changing your perspective. Try applying compassion or pity and see if that changes – not only how you feel – but how you respond.
This website has a bunch of free materials on how to stop bullies using behavioral psychology techniques. I also have a book – The Bully Vaccine – that teaches the science of how to get bullies to leave you alone.