How to Keep Others’ Negativity from Getting You Down
Rudeness seems to be on the rise in virtually every area of society, from interpersonal interactions in everyday situations to the workplace, and even the yoga studio, unfortunately. It can be difficult for some people to rise above rude behavior and prevent it from bringing them down. But to maintain one’s own inner sanctity, it is essential to learn how to keep other peoples’ negativity from influencing your personal attitude and adversely impacting your daily life. And no, it doesn’t require you to hibernate in a distant cave.
Communication Without Personal Interaction
One of the biggest contributing factors to the apparent rise in rude behavior is the digital communication platforms. Text messaging, emails and social media discussions generate amazing thoughts and influence people to do wonderful things but they can also be denigrating, frustrating, or downright insulting.
Text-based digital communication removes a vital component of interpersonal communication: body language. Voice tone, inflection, and nonverbal expression help others understand your thoughts and the meaning behind them. But the digital space shuts these communication details down leaving us wondering WTF just happened?
Sterile and impersonal digital communication can easily lead to misinterpretations that erode personal relationships. Additionally, internet-based communication inherently leads people to post things they otherwise may not say if they were standing right in front of them. This is especially true on social media platforms that allow anonymous posting. “Trolling” and abusive messages can sometimes go unchecked, and people who are otherwise respectful and gracious can turn nasty as soon as they have a veil of anonymity and an open mic to be heard.
Disrespectful Communication in Person
The internet and digital communication are not the only aspects of modern life in which rudeness seems to have firmly taken root. People seem ruder than in past years, and this may be due to shifting attitudes about personal responsibility, mutual respect, and an overwhelming “you only live once” attitude. Keeping the peace can be very difficult in the face of people who are so self-absorbed they can no longer relate to others’ points of view or offer respectful dialogue about certain topics.
The digital age has inherently made people more selfish. Many people who post outrageous or inflammatory comments on social media are more concerned with the number of likes, loves, shares and engagement than the content of those reactions. People are attention-obsessive rather than meaningful dialogue nurturers. The impersonal nature of communication on the internet seems to have effectively bled through into real life.
Keeping Your Peace and Sanity
Believe it or not, it is still possible to find inner peace despite the rudeness of others. When you encounter unexpected rudeness from others, remember, their words only hurt as much as you allow them to. Usually, rude-laced situations have more to do with the person spewing the unpleasantries and could be coping (or failing to) with personal issues in an unhealthy manner. You just happened to be at the right digital place and the unfortunate time to bear the brunt of their discontent. Why is it so hard for people to stay in their emotional lane? Sheesh!
When it comes to rudeness in digital spaces, step away from the madness fairly easily by disconnecting for a while:
- Put your social media accounts on pause (you can do it!)
- Encourage respectful dialogue whenever possible (lay ground rules for social engagement, for example)
Ultimately, distancing yourself from negativity is fairly simple by being proactive and taking the necessary steps to stay at arm’s length from heated online discussions. The real challenge comes in preventing that negativity from influencing your own attitude.
Maintaining A Positive Outlook
It can be a very daunting task to maintain positivity in the face of so much rudeness and negativity in the world. But let’s dial this back for a minute. We are each in control of who we interact with, how we interact, and the personal perspectives we shed on the world and its inhabitants. Start by owning your thoughts. This puts an invisible layer in place so that when you are confronted with an onslaught of external negativity, you hold the power to diffuse it – before it infiltrates the words you choose to respond with.
Mindfulness practices provide a perfect example. In yoga, people engage in specific poses to control their bodies, breath and movement all in the quest to find balance. While some people may find yoga to be relaxing and empowering, they may find it difficult to translate the feelings experienced while doing it to life outside the yoga studio.
Your mantra keeps you centered and focused during your yoga poses, so why not translate that into daily life when confronted with rudeness and negativity? Your own positive inner light can be your port in the storm. All it takes is practice and an unwillingness to succumb to the negativity that surrounds you.
Finding Harmony in Dissonance
Modern life is incredibly chaotic, fast-paced, and impersonal. Many people forego traditional interpersonal methods of communication and interaction in favor of modern conveniences. Some know better, others have no clue. In a way, we are burdened by excess in communication channels available, though at a loss in promoting their best use. Convenience has bred a sea of unknowing self-haters, narcissists that revel in a warped sense of power. It’s a heavy load to deflect, especially when the rudeness comes without warning.
You may not be able to change the minds of the internet trolls you see on social media, or change the attitude of the person who was rude to you on your way to work. But you can alter the way you perceive and process these interactions. If this person is a stranger, there is no reason to let this interaction bother you after it’s over. If it is someone who you see on a regular basis, start a conversation and be honest about your feelings. But envision a virtual suit of armor all around you, made of your best qualities, shining your positive light like a force field of emotional protection.
Remember your mantra during these difficult interactions and try to peel back the layers of negativity. Some people use rudeness to cover their pain. No one ever said you had to carry it.
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