Mean People Suck
Ever start the day thinking "what a great day" and by the time you make it to work you are thinking mean people suck? Just the other day this happened to me. Getting onto the major boulevard from my neighborhood has never been anything but a daunting task, so much so that this is the one thing I worry about most when people leave my house. The traffic just sucks.
I think I should make it clear at this point, one my own peeves is people who enter a roadway who impede traffic, so I try like hell to never do it. So…. I waited until there was an ample break in traffic and then entered the roadway at a pretty good speed. In a matter of seconds someone is on my ass laying on the horn. Mind you I was doing 40 in the 40 mph lane coming up to a red light and quite frankly at the distance he had been coming from it should not have mattered that I pulled out except that he was probably going 70 mph.
As if the horn was not enough to let me know he was angry, the jerk had to flip me off and even as I reasoned with myself that the guy was a jerk, had no business going as fast as he was, and most important to me - that I had given him p-l-e-n-t-y of room, this person was able in that instant to change my morning from what a great day to a terrible day with the mantra on loop saying mean people suck. My language and demeanor by the time I had made it to my meeting had turned from positive and upbeat to negative and defeatist. That stunt put me in a bad mood which I am sure made me a more aggressive driver and placed me in a terrible mind frame for the meeting.
Let's talk about mean people. We experience them daily from the roadway to the grocery store to even our own family members. Even knowing that that guy on the roadway was being a jerk I allowed his behavior to affect me. But then again was it something I really allowed? Conversely, think about how good you feel when someone smiles or says something flattering. For most people it gives them a boost. My point being how you behave outwardly does impact other people.
Ever heard of toxic people? Those negative folks who are generally not a nice or one of those people who can always find the down side to every piece of joy you know. They are energy suckers not energy givers and you usually leave their presence actually feeling exhausted and nasty yourself. I have read a lot of self-help and personal exploration books that will tell you need to eliminate these people from your life and while in a perfect world you could, in reality "losing" these folks permanently is just not an option.
So my suggestion for what to do when you cannot totally ex-nay the mean person from your life? Limit your exposure and set really good boundaries, meaning you need to establish how much interaction you will have and identify what your triggers are and when and how you will stop the interaction when your triggers are being pushed. This changes the situation into one in which you have control.
Mean people do suck and believe it or not, they know they do. And for the record, I have never met a mean person who did not know they were being mean, have you? They get some kind of mean satisfaction from getting under other people's skin, being able to speak without filters, or quite frankly telling you what they think at your emotional expense. It is tough to not let those kinds of statements influence your mood but buying into their contagion does nothing good for you or the people around you. The easiest solution, which is sometimes the hardest to do at the moment is think about something good, like that certain someone winking at you or someone holding the door for you as you were struggling to get it open. Just the power of a genuine smile can change your overall disposition, and they are free to give and receive.