Change the Way You Think About It


Recently, I was catching up with someone I hadn’t seen in a while.

At first, the conversation was pleasant, as was my general mood, but as the chatting continued, I realized this person was swimming in barely concealed hostility.

Almost everything that came out of this person’s mouth was either a brag or a humble brag, a passive-aggressive remark, or a backhanded compliment (don’t you just love it when someone insults you like that – and it’s “socially acceptable”?).

But perhaps what rankled most was the obvious avoidance of discussing anything going on in my life. Whether the reason for this was self-absorption, disinterest, jealousy, or whatever, I could only hazard to guess.

So what did I decide to do? Well, I held my tongue and chose to follow the advice from Ms. Angelou as stated above. I decided to look at the experience differently, to frame it in a way that muted the annoyance I felt, and replace it with understanding.

I already know this person has difficulties going on in his own life, which helped me to recognize that the hostility had very little to do with me.

So I chose to temper my hurt with this awareness. The pain he is presently enduring in his life is far worse than anything he could inflict on me with his words. And perhaps, along with that, he was having an especially hard day.

It doesn’t always work, but in this case, a little understanding made all the difference.

Have you ever consciously changed your thought processes about something?
How has it worked for you?
How do you deal with difficult people?

12 thoughts on “Change the Way You Think About It

    1. I think it might be more of a challenge for some, depending on their personality and sensitivities. I have a tendency to pick up on a person’s mood and more often than not it affects my mood as well. Others can shrug it off, unaffected by “other people’s stuff”.

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  1. I can relate to this Jennifer and sometimes I cope well offering an ear to let them vent. Some days I don’t have the strength to be so understanding and I may avoid and screen my calls. Negativity breeds more negativity and some just don’t see it. Im a positive person and I prefer to see the good side instead of living with my glass half empty.

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    1. George, I’m sure everyone has been difficult around others at one time or another. That makes us human. And no, we don’t always know why a person acts the way they do, but if we are able to throw in a little compassion, at the very least it could diffuse the situation.

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  2. Of course you are absolutely right. How we choose to frame the situation in our own minds and how we react to the other person’s behavior will have a much bigger impact on our own state than anything the other person can say or do.
    Common sense of course, but not always so easy to put into practice when someone is being mean, hurtful, or just plain annoying. Sigh…I still have a lot of work to do on this front 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norm, it is a powerful tool if we can only remember to employ it. Perception is everything. We can apply Angelou’s quote to nearly every area of our lives, and not only in the way we get along with others.
      Thanks for your “2.0” cents worth! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I admit it isn’t easy when you’re in the moment, but thinking it over afterwards I was able to see the situation with better clarity. What makes it challenging is that I care about this person and hope one day to return to a better relationship. And even if that doesn’t happen, I refuse to lower myself to that immature level.

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  3. I am told I am a rare person in that I can see more then one side to something I don’t get offended easy as I will think how must someone be feeling to act in such a way towards me, when I know I am not the cause of their bad mood so I just let it go and move on, I smile and nod and try not to say anything insulting like “you’re acting like a crazy ass bitch and I want to punch you in the face”………………lol

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