At one point or another each one of us has had to deal with other people trying to put us down; what is the best way to handle it? First you have to understand the reason why others behave like that, then you can skill yourself on how to deal with it.
Let’s start by first making it very clear that whatever type of behavior others exhibit with you, is not a reflection of who you are but rather of who they are. Keeping that in mind will help you not to take things too personally. I know its sounds simplistic and if you are like me, it can take you many years to learn to accept this wisdom. In the past I used to take things too personally; over time I’ve discovered what others think about me has nothing to do with me…what changed? My perception!.
Your perception; which is your focus; changes as you spend more time on your own self development. As you start embracing yourself, what others say or think about you becomes less important and less hurtful.
No one knows you better than you know yourself. Many of us are even struggling to fully understand and remember who we are at our core, so how can somebody else who can not see inside of you, feel like you or act like you, understand or have any real idea of who you are?… it is impossible!….therefore their judgement is nothing but a guess at most.
In life you will encounter two different types of people who will try to put you down; those who do it overtly and those who try to be more subtle. Personally I rather deal with someone who is overt, that way at least I have a clear understanding of how they see me or feel about me. I have a tremendous dislike for those who try to hurt me subtly, as I find their conduct one of cowardice. I have always respected directness; I may not always like it but life has taught me to value and respect it.
The first thing to do when others try to put you down is remind yourself that they are intimidated by you. If you didn’t intimidate them, if you were not important in their thoughts, they would not bother to try to put you down.
Let’s say you have a dream or a goal; you will encounter three types of people. Those who will support you, those who openly disagree with you and those who will try to mock you openly by ridiculing your dreams or by their silence (subtle).
I learned those who try put me down usually resent something about my choices, not me personally. My strong belief on my dreams seems to disturb those who feel I should either live victimizing myself for the abuse imposed on me or live apologizing for my life because of the mistakes I made; instead I choose to work on myself and on turning my dreams into a reality. Those who like to see me fail obviously will have a tremendous dislike at how I handle myself because by simply focusing on me I am taking away from them one more excuse not to do that which they claim they wish they had or am taking away one more person to victimize. If life lesson’s made them bitter or sarcastic then its their belief that you too should be like that.
People who like to look down on others deep inside fear everyone, their ego is very fragile; they lack self esteem. Self esteem is not the ability to socialize and be friendly towards everyone; always acting cool. Healthy self esteem is not needing the approval of others; being yourself whether others like it or not.
Another thing I have learned; which at times I still forget; is not to tell someone else my dreams/goals until they’ve been reached. The only exception should be those who are very close to you, such as your partner or kids.
Growing up I used to get super excited about an idea and I would talk openly about it; what it was, how I was going to achieve it, etc. Life has taught me that no matter how much you plan, sometimes your best plans will have to change or you will have to postpone them; that was my case yet those who like to put me down simply relished on my delays and perceive them as failures.
I came to realize there is no pleasing some people. Some people will not be happy with my choices no matter what I do. If I had to quit at something they acted displeased. If I achieved something they acted displeased. Bottom line is this….their displeasure is not with me but with themselves; they just won’t admit to that. Deep inside they know the truth but it’s easier to point the finger or gossip about someone else. In my case they were intimidated because I had the balls to believe in myself, to not let my past or any set backs define me; that is a very scary thing to do in a world full of people seeking approval to define their self worth. My biggest advice to you is to remember to keep your dreams, goals and plans silent; however do not let your silence be confused with stupidity.
What to do in regards to your own personality?.. Should you force yourself to create a superficial image in order to be pleasing and not have others put you down?…Hell NO!!!. People who want to put you down will find any reason to do so. No matter how much you may think you will please them, if they have made up their mind about who you are or who you should be, there will be no changing their mind. The only way they will change their mind is when and if they are ready to do so.
You have the responsibility to look at your own life and make sure to work on the things you still need to heal or to develop on. You also have the right to be yourself even if that self is different than most people out there. Personally I can come across as quirky, nervous, shy or depending on the situation others can perceive me as indifferent. In the past it caused me much heartache. I have learned through trial and error that is okay to be myself. I don’t need to pretend or force myself to be someone I am not in order for others to feel comfortable around me. I have learned when to ignore people’s ignorance and when to stand up for myself. Those who know me well are aware that although shy, I’m no doormat; those who don’t, quickly learn it. I respect the right everyone has to live their lives in whatever way they wish to, so long as it does not impose itself on my life. What I am advocating here is self respect. People who have self respect do not go looking for fights but also do not let others abuse them. I learned to say what its on my mind openly, politely yet directly.
Another way to stop dealing with the hurt of others putting you down is to spend less time with them. It helps to learn to respond to your ability of choice; that is what is called responsibility. Why spend time with people who hurt you?… a lot of times we complain about people putting us down yet we still choose to spend time with them. We give ourselves a lot of excuses on why we choose to be around them, why we choose to think about them, ultimately “paying” them more attention than they deserve.
Sadly a lot of times many of us like to focus on people who put us down, maybe because we indirectly believe we have the power to change those people. Let me ask you something, what makes them more valuable than you? NOTHING!!!.
If they need to put you down, then obviously they have a fragile ego or like to remain in ignorance. How are either one of those two characteristics going to help improve your life?…..focus on those people who DO know you, who want what is best for you, who are upfront, and from whom you have something to learn.
I decided to stop paying attention to people who only try to put me down directly or indirectly and my life started to change.
Once I started to let go of the hypocritical or tyrannical people in my life, new experiences happened, new people entered my life. Looking back at certain times, certain amazing people I’ve met; I would not have had that opportunity had I chose to remain focused on trying to get the approval of people who ultimately don’t approve of themselves. If they did approve of themselves they would not be looking for someone else to put down in order to feel better about who they are. People who don’t like you and want to put you down will continue to do so no matter what you try to do to show them who you are. It is in their nature to do so and only life can change their views. It is not your job to chase after people who have no time for you only than to mock you, gossip behind you back, or put you down.
There is a beautiful Japanese story of a great Zen Master who was being put down by a man who liked to insult and abuse people. The Zen Master stood his ground, not by fighting but simply focusing on the beauty around him. What did the Zen Master do?… He starved the man from whatever twisted delight he got from putting others down. Ultimately that story is a lesson of knowing when to be passive and when to stand your ground.
What am writing here is not something I just read on a book; it has been my personal experience to deal with people who like to play games, put people down, and tell half ass versions of things…to what end?…simply for sick pleasure. Those type of people can either control you by the chaos they can bring to your life or you can control them and yourself by simply looking at their actions as that of very empty bitter souls.
There will be times when you find people who will try to justify the behavior of those who hurt you by masking it as pain; let me clarify something…. Pain happens to everyone of us. We all have gone through some level of pain or other. NO AMOUNT OF PAIN GIVES THE RIGHT FOR ANYONE TO BE SO VINDICTIVE AS TO TRY TO HURT OTHERS. NO AMOUNT OF PAIN IS EXCUSE FOR IGNORANT BEHAVIOR. MOREOVER NO AMOUNT OF PAIN GIVES ANYONE THE RIGHT TO TRY TO ABUSE YOU OR TO INVADE THE PRIVACY OF YOUR HOME!!!.
Many times those who are in pain tend to hurt others in far worst ways; tipping the scale way over to the other side.
In life you will encounter people who like to hurt others whether directly or with a smile; if you are anything like me, you will be totally blown for a bit; don’t let their actions control your life. Those type of people usually have an image to protect, that is why many times in public they will act nice towards you while their real intentions and actions are kept hidden from others. That is why it is important to learn to be cautious as to whom you surround yourself with. Be cautious; not close minded….
I have psychologically taught myself when meeting new people to see them as a blank page. I don’t care what others have to say about that person because we all have made mistakes in life. There are no saints; as Freud said; the more perfect a person seems the darker the shadow. If a person chooses to offend me, hurt me or mistreat me, then I deal with it accordingly. Sometimes I might ignore it because of the level of their ignorance, other times however it’s time to be direct, first with words then with actions if needed. In the process however it is very important to recognize when the situation is worth your time and energy. You will find the more you get in touch with yourself, the less you care to fight but you will certainly stand up when needed …. that is what self respect is.
Sometimes it pays to remind yourself that time takes care of everything. Nothing can be hidden forever, no matter how secretive others may be on how they try to hurt you or your loved ones. Time will make sure to make them accountable for their B.S
Focus on those who love you. Those who love you won’t put you down. They won’t try to negotiate your acceptance. They can give you constructive criticism. They won’t hold their love and acceptance in exchange for you to do things the way they want you to. People who love you show you in actions they love you in good and bad times. Those are the people you need to focus on.
Another way to stop others from putting you down is to focus on your abilities. There is a great saying which reflects this perfectly…“THEY TOLD ME I COULDN’T, SO I DID”.
My wish for you is to learn to differentiate who your real friends and family are. It has taken me many years to learn this but it has become one of the greatest lessons I have come to learn.
These past few years have been a rollercoaster; working on healing tends to do that. More and more I have learned to embrace my talents and not let some of my past choices dictate who I am today. No one knows why I made certain choices and no one has the right to expect me to live apologizing or lowering my head for not always having lived life in the healthiest way.
I believe in a God force, not on a human judge. I live at peace because I believe God is more than a force who is there only for those who pay him visits once a week. I am metaphysical, so I believe everything happens as it was meant to; for a reason. The more life has challenged me the more my desire to embrace my talents. That is what each one of us needs to do. It will help you build true self esteem, it will help you succeed; as you succeed in life, more and more the people who used to put you down will start to vanish.
So focus on your success. Let me be clear that when I speak of success I am not referring to only monetary success. Success to me is a fulfilling life. Success to me emanates from embracing your abilities, which usually leads to a balanced life, psychologically, physically, spiritually and economically.
So to summarize here are a couple of things to remember:
- Do not to go around maliciously trying to hurt others… Remember what it felt like to have others put you down. Do not be like those people who hurt you. A very important thing to remember is those who put you down are really projecting their own insecurities; so is not as personal as you may think. Reminding myself of this, has helped me to see it for what it is; it is their problem, not mine. They have an issue and rather than working on that issue, they try to put me down so as to avoid facing their own shortcomings.
2. Do what you love…Consume your time with the things you love. Focus on your abilities and you will get so much energy and joy that what others say or do will barely hit you. For me, I find my energy on learning, writing and guiding; when I focus on these I am happy. It allows me to share my experiences with others, my life lessons, my mistakes; life takes a new meaning which provides me with energy. Energy which I then can use on those who love me and whom I love; that is what makes life worthwhile and beautiful!.