Each one of us has people in our lives that just make things a bit more difficult. They may be co-workers, acquaintances, friends, family members, or even our significant others. They come in many forms, but their behavior and their effect on us are the same—they drain our spirit, make us frustrated and doubtful. And instead of making our lives happy, many times, they make things less than easy for us in a variety of ways.
We all know them, we may even love them, but they’re not necessarily the best choice as a confidant or compadre for our long-term success. It could be anyone, even be someone that has been in your life for years, take a moment to reflect on how some of those closest to you impact your life—is their influence and existence mostly positive or does it tend to be a negative? It’s important.
If it is, indeed, negative, where do these feelings stem from? If we strive continuously to be a good person in our own opinion, and in the opinion of those that know us best, wouldn’t it make sense for most everyone to find that genuine goodness as a positive trait? Not necessarily. There are two key reasons why people may find fault with you, even if it’s not justified.
Sometimes, it comes from jealousy. They see what you have—your accomplishments like a strong family unit or great job security and they find reasons to make you feel guilty about your achievements or make light of their weight and importance. It may not be in obvious ways, either. A lot of time we’re unaware of that habit because we often either give them the benefit of the doubt or just aren’t even aware of it because we assume they care for us.
And if it’s not jealousy it’s fear. When others don’t believe that they’ll succeed personally, they can push those undesirable emotions onto others and it shows in their actions or attitude towards us. Many times, the distaste that person has for us doesn’t actually come from anything we’ve done to them, but more so, it comes from their perception of a situation and the opinions that they create from it. Self-perception is powerful. It may not be the universal reality, but it’s theirs, and many times, that’s a very difficult mindset to change.
So what can you do to save yourself some stress when dealing with someone like this?
Try being open and honest. Ask them politely but directly if you’ve done something to offend them—make sure to do this in private to avoid the person shutting down or becoming angry. If they feel embarrassed or put on the spot, you’ll lose the opportunity to fix the situation right away.
When you’re talking to them, keep it short and to the point. Stay on topic and use ‘I’ messages instead of ‘you’ messages. Avoid approaching it as ‘you make me feel this way’ and try ‘I feel that there may be something that I’ve done’— when you explain out loud to someone that you may have hurt them, even unintentionally, it may change their mindset and a resolution can come to fruition. It may not work with everyone, but it’s at least worth a shot—especially if it’s someone that you spend a great deal of time with. When you take the leap and show them you care, they may soften their walls and start to create trust with you—everyone wins.
Working it out won’t always be that easy, however. There are people that are sadly stuck in their misery and they’re hard-pressed to find happiness for themselves, both in their life happenings and their relationships. All we can do is try to do our best with what we’ve got, we can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
What’s most important, is to be the best version of ourselves as much as we can, that way, within our own hearts, we’ll never have to question the reasons behind our own motivations or actions. The ones that matter most will see that and appreciate and celebrate us for who we are, and we’ll have peace within ourselves that we stay on the side of what’s good and what’s right.