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adversity
wrong place at the wrong time
tense atmosphere
stressful jobs
negative attitude
stressful job
positive attitude
economic times
golden rule
good mood
bad day
co workers
instinct
Adversity | How It Affects You Is Your Decision
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Adversity | How It Affects You is Your Decision

There are times in life when others hurt our feelings. It’s unfortunate that people don’t follow the golden rule to treat others the way you want to be treated. But it happens. And it may happen for reasons that have nothing to do with you. You may just be a convenient victim who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

People can be mean. It’s just as simple as that. They can be mean because they are stressed out. Even people who are generally nice can be adversely affected by stress and take their problems out on others. For instance, they could have had a bad day at work or worse, got fired. Do you think they are going to go home at the end of the day in a good mood? Not likely. More likely, they will go home grumpy or angry or depressed. And cause a tense atmosphere in the house. They make it hard for everyone else in the house and negate the harmony that the home should offer to all who live there.

Many people have stressful jobs and the stresses of the day can carry over into the evening and beyond. Think of how many people you know who hate their jobs or their boss or their co-workers. Do you think it’s easy for them to present a good face every day in such adverse conditions? These things weigh on them constantly. It’s hard for them to present a positive attitude. And in this day of high unemployment, it’s hard to try and change your circumstances. Finding a better, less stressful job is not an easy task even in the best economic times.

We run into people all the time who are rude, arrogant, or obviously downtrodden. (Of course, there are those who are nice and friendly too, thankfully.) When you are treated badly by strangers, your first instinct may be to pull a negative attitude right back at them. However, this may not be the right approach to take.

You never know what is happening in that person’s life. Even those you are close to may be feeling emotional stresses you (or even they) are not aware of. The stranger may have just lost someone who was dear to them, or are heading for a divorce, or being evicted, or just found out they have cancer, or any number of bad things could be happening in their lives to cause their bad attitude or behavior. Maybe a kind word from you would make their day a little better or their problem a little lighter.

I tend to pick up on other people’s emotional states. I used to allow myself to be affected by it on an emotional level. I have a hard time hanging out with negative people for this reason. I am generally a positive person, but I feel like an empath from the old Star Trek series sometimes. I have to extricate myself from the company of negative people so I don’t end up feeling their stress and feeling the impact on my own psyche. I will try to help but sometimes it’s just not enough -- like when dealing with people who are always negative. Unfortunately, I think this type of person brings it on themselves and doesn’t even realize it. Seek professional help already, will you please?

It is weird how that works. For some reason, it is easier to destroy than to build, easier to let something negative grow than it is to raise positivity. Impossible to lighten someones’ bad mood no matter how upbeat you are.

When I taught young elementary students, I often heard things like “He made me mad,” when a child was being teased. Or they would come to me crying over a slight of some kind or other set upon them by another student. My answer often followed the same litany. “He didn’t make you mad--he wanted you to be mad and you allowed it to happen.” I would tell them that the other student wanted the reaction they got from being mean to them. And the bullied student gave them just what they wanted.

It is a control issue. The bully wants control and the student who reacts by being hurt or lashing out in retaliation gave it to them. Now the bully is happy and their victim is hurt. The same thing can happen at any age. You can’t control the bullies in life, but you can control your reaction to them. It’s your choice. If you react as they expect, get mad or cry, then you are giving them control over you. If you don’t react the way they expect, you gain control of yourself and the situation. The bully will most likely stop victimizing you because they don’t get what they want -- they don’t get to spoil your day or get a rise out of you. This concept is difficult for children to understand, but as adults, we should have the capacity to get it.

Attitude is everything. There are some things in life you have no control over. You have no control over other people’s problems, emotional states, or the way they deal with these things. You don’t have control over any bad things that are a part of life, like car accidents or house fires. But you do have control over your own attitude and reactions to them. The situation won’t be changed by your reaction. The only thing that may change if you don’t deal with it rationally, is your blood pressure.

If you are having a bad day, take a minute to remember how much you love those around you. Take inventory of your emotions and notice how they affect the ones you love. Don’t give life’s bullies or bad situations control over your attitude.


Street Talk

Having a wife who has suffered 4 different types of cancer, we have both learnt to always be positive, test results seen as a either a good result or another we have to fight. This very positive attitude I feel has helped the wife fight successfully her disease. When walking in town I enjoy greeting people I do not know, a "good morning to you" can get some funny results. I am not a small man so negative retorts are few, but the looks one gets from some, astounding, others so surprised they just grin and others that reply with the same. I get more smiles than frowns, and often wonder if I might have just turned a negative into a positive. If I have great, if not I might just have made someone wonder what the hell I'm up to and forget their problem. The wife and I understand each others downs and spend time either trying to turn it around or merely being together and saying nothing, The "I'm here for you if you want to talk about it" effect of silent support often changes downs to ups very quickly. I never run away, I try to support. As a past Alkie, I know what mood swings can do to relationships, my wife stood by me through all of mine, and that is why I can say I've been dry for 23 years.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Wonderful comment, Rob. Thanks for sharing. I, too, and the type that says Hi to everyone and know exactly what you're saying about the responses. People say Hi to me first a lot too. I think that's because I make eye contact when I look at people. I can strike up a conversation with a stranger like we were old friends. Having a positive attitude and keeping positive, life affirming thoughts works wonders on the physical self as well as psychologically. You wife sounds like a very strong person and you are a champion of support. Sounds like a great marriage.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

That it is.

  
  about 7 years ago
Joan S  

Most people just need a hug. That seems to help all sorts of pain. If a person is chronically negative, I tell them I have been observing them. They are negative, and being negative is creating more negative things to happen in their lives. Sometimes it helps to shock them with your candor. Sometimes you just have to move away in order to stay positive yourself. What's even more difficult is if a friend suffers from substance abuse and they get mean. I get far away from them. Have a life time buddy right now who has become impossible. I've moved away with love.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

We can only do so much for people like that and you are right to protect yourself from it be staying clear otherwise you're the one getting hurt. I'm betting you are the type that tries to help and that's great when it works but there's a limit to how much I will take or attempt to help. If it all falls on deaf ears, and I realize there's nothing more I can do I have to get on with my own life and maintain my own happiness. So many people like this don't even realize why they have fewer and fewer friends.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Joan S  

Empath, like you. I take it on. The years have taught me that each person has to solve his/ her own problems. You can lend support, but it is ultimately up to that person. We each have to take responsibility for our actions and our lives. Safety nets are nice, but at some point, you have to get a grip.

  
  about 7 years ago
Lemuel  

Great article. You'll reap a lot of good things if you have a positive attitude. Even in sports, one with a negative attitude can easily lose concentration and lose the game - and the bully gets laughed at. Being positive goes a long way. A bully don't have many friends, but a good person has loyal friends on his side. Thanks Ann.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks for the great comment, Lemuel! Bullies usually don't have friends...they have sycophants!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great article. I try to be positive everyday. And I don't hang around negative people. I will bend over backwards to someone, but if they have a bad attitude, thats it, I am gone.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Daniel. I have more than one friend who I've known most of my life and really want to maintain the deep friendships but they have grown into very negative thinking adults so I can only take small doses of their company. Too long in their company and their negativity weighs on me - it doesn't, however, rub off on me in any permanent way. Living with them might do this tho...

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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