I saw a post on Linkedin a few weeks ago pointing out that if you had £10 stolen from you but someone gave you £86,390 in the same day, you'd feel pretty good about life. We have 86,400 seconds in a day. Why do we allow 10 seconds to affect the remaining 86,390?
People say and do thoughtless things, hurtful things at times but the majority of things which hurt us aren't intended to do so and even if they were, it is a decision (conscious or unconscious) to allow that 10 seconds to become a big deal.
So here are some tips to put it all in perspective.
You can't control what other people do but you can control how you react
People who know me in real life know this is a favourite phrase of mine. It's about accepting what you can't control and recognising that in every interaction, you are not a passive participant, you have a decision to make about how you feel. It doesn't have to be an unconscious reaction. Once you realise this you tend to move from reacting to acting. If you act rather than react you tend to do so with a calmer head and in a way which is less likely to inflame the situation.
When someone is negative around us it can be easy to get on the defensive but sometimes you can be on the receiving end of criticism which does have a grain of truth in it. It can sometimes be difficult to understand the feedback because you feel threatened or the communication is so off-putting as to make it virtually impossible to "hear". Stop, take a breath and replay it without emotion. Is there something you can learn from that feedback? Is any of it fair? Also being positive to the person giving the message can diffuse the situation, reflecting on it and acting where you feel it's justified, even acknowledging where the person was right shows real emotional maturity.
Understand why someone might be being difficult
You don't know what is going on in someone elses life. At any time your friends or colleagues may be suffering from depression, long term illness, divorce, bereavement... You don't know and you don't need to know. You just need to know that the world does not revolve around you. Imagine you go to see your boss and they seem distracted and not focussed on you. You could think.
"Oh for goodness' sake, I work so hard and she doesn't appreciate me!"
But at the same time she's thinking "I've got so much to do, have I got time to get to the hospital to see my Mum?"
Ask for help
It takes a stony hearted person to say "no" if you ask "can you help me?" If you ask for help it invests the other person in the solution as well. Even if the answer is "no... but I can help later?" it's built a bridge and started to help form more of a relationship.
Try to understand other peoples pressures
It can be easy to become blinkered by what is important to you rather than the bigger picture. Find out what other peoples pressures are and explain your own. You might find your deadline is not the most important thing or others may realise your deadline is really the one which matters. You may realise you have been consumed with work when there are pressures at home which should be taking priority. The more you share and understand each other, the less opportunity there is for conflict.
Recognise when the problem is you
It can be easy to be surrounded by negativity and become the same but negativity only breeds more negativity. If you are spending your time complaining and moaning, perhaps the problem is more in your control than you thought? Have a day where you check in on your behaviour and your approach throughout the day. Have you been approaching the day negatively? If so why would you expect others to treat you differently? Try a day where you choose to be positive. Do you find people react to you differently?
Give respect and get respect
Don't put up with harassment, bullying or abuse, this is wrong and should be dealt with properly, there is no excuse for it.
Deal with people how you want to be dealt with and don't accept anything which crosses the line.
Nothing like a run to make you feel better. Not only does it give you a mood lift but it gives you the chance to reflect on whatever issue or person was bothering you and get it out of your system or come up with ideas to resolve it.
If things are really bad, a break is no bad idea. This could be an afternoon to yourself, a quick mindfulness or meditation session which you can do in as little as 5 minutes if that's your thing or take your lunchbreak at work and get some fresh air. It's also a great idea to make sure you get proper rest at night. Sleep is important for health and well-being.
Don't avoid the situation
If there is a difficult person at work or in life you rub up the wrong way, it's tempting to avoid it but after years of experience I can assure you, it never gets better. If things are bad, you have nothing to lose by trying to change the situation. Even if you walk away from a bad situation, like a friendship or a boss, it's inevitable you will face another similar person in the future. At least if you try to make things better, you've learned something from that process.
It's only 10 seconds. You have a whole life to lead, don't let 10 seconds become thousands.
I've linked this up to the healthy, happy, green and natural party hop.