Today I sat on the sofa at home, tears streaming down my face, and reeling from what felt like a completely unjustified personal attack on me and my behaviour. I woke up after a terrible night's sleep, and forced myself up and out, to do something productive, be helpful, and I felt better. I envisaged it being a good day. But here I am, still teary, and honestly shocked at how I came to feel this upset. I'm also angry, but not at them, at myself.
Sometimes life is hard, and people do or say things to us that hurts. I'm the sort of person that takes these things to heart, and I struggle to let go of it all. I don't hold grudges, but I do beat myself up a lot, running things over in my mind a hundred times, wishing I'd said something to defend myself, believing that they're right when they may have said something horrible or untrue. But a lot of people respond in the opposite way to situations like these, blaming the other person, taking no personal responsibility at all, and holding grudges for a long time, until it's festered so much that there seems no way of coming back from it.
I am regularly baffled by the behaviour of others. Coming from a career in psychology, I analyse all the reasons why they may have done or said what they did, trying to make sense of it all, but if I'm not at work, and I'm the one on the receiving end, sometimes it's really hard to empathise.
I'm still learning to bounce back from situations like this more effectively, but there are a few pointers that I have always recommended to others to move on and let go of hurt.
Remember you can't control how other people behave: I may well be baffled by some people's attitudes and behaviour, but I know that it's not my fault they are that way. It's surprisingly liberating to remember that it is out of your control how someone behaves, but that you have total control of yourself. You can choose to respond in any way you like, and live your life to your own principles and morality. If other people don't, then that is their choice, but it only reflects on them as a person.
Be kind to yourself: So clearly this person has an issue with the way you are, but do you? Do you like yourself? Are you happy with the way you behave? Sure there might be areas we'd all like to work on in our personalities, but overall I think I'm damn good person, who cares genuinely for people, and will go out of my way to make people feel loved and appreciated. I'm kind, I'm friendly, I'm generally happy and optimistic, I don't like to bitch about people, I like to know and regularly ask how people are doing, I'm respectful, and I work my socks off. I know I'm not the person they seem to think I am, and that's good enough for me, but there are also a lot of people who I know would vouch for that as well.
Take some time to calm down before responding: It's easy to react impulsively when your emotions are all fired up. I could have quite easily shouted through tears all the things I thought and felt about this person in this moment, but instead I grabbed my bag and left, and proceeded to drive home in floods of tears. I'm glad I didn't react in a way that would have made me look as equally nasty, or done something I regret, and although I am still thinking of all the things I could have said in my defence, now I've calmed down I realise it would have only fueled an already overheated fire. (I'll share some tips soon on ways to cool off in a conflict.)
Surround yourself with people who love you: Sometimes events like this show you who and what you don't need in your life. We often don't have the choice of the people we surround ourselves with, such as work colleagues or family members, but sometimes we do. Not all bridges can be fixed, and sometimes it's worth doing yourself a favour and leaving some people behind. I don't feel the need to persist with relationships with people who love to 'bitch', who resent it when you're happy, and never ask you how you are. I'm pretty tired of making excuses for some people; people who can't hide their jealousy or who want to see you mess up so they can feel better about themselves. I've got plenty of people who love me and appreciate me, and as they say, it's about quality, not quantity!
Give yourself some good 'self talk': On a previous blog post I talked about having some backup 'positive thoughts' to use in a situation where you are struggling. Find the article here.
I'm using mine right now!
It's hard letting go of things that have hurt you, but it does nothing but distract you from what is good in your life. Have a go at moving on, and don't be afraid to leave some people behind. It could make your future a lot happier.