When there is drama in our lives it involves other people and our emotional reaction to them. If you are miserable at your job, the situation likely implies a boss, colleague or group of people is at its root. If you repeatedly avoid situations you most likely dodge a person who you feel strips your power. If you commonly find yourself angry with someone, it is probably because you feel a need to defend against how they make you feel.
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Don’t Personalize Their Behavior
We think people cause our sorrow. Not so. Our interpretation of another person’s actions – our emotional response to having been judged – is what really makes us unhappy. We personalize their conduct. We make it about us. We judge back. We feel left out. We become needy for approval. Right now, there is someone personalizing your behavior that you’re not even aware of.
Recognize Your Own Ego
If you feel that another person’s conduct makes you feel less than you are, that’s your ego screaming out for validation. That’s your insecurity striving to be protected. Notice this in the moment. Get familiar with what you are feeling before it turns to anger, paralyzing you with hurt and victimization. Notice your ego’s thirst for attention before you start to talk about the person or do things you regret that rob you of peace and presence.
Don’t turn away from the discomfort that difficult people bring to your life. See it for what it is – an outside influence. Create an invisible barrier between you and them. Their bad behavior remains outside the boundary. The boundary you create can’t be penetrated to hurt you. Allow their unleashed ego and behavior to be theirs to own on their side of the boundary. Not yours. If their behavior is repugnant, then the boundary needs to be concrete. Get up and leave.
Abandon the need for anyone’s approval but your own. If you demonstrate consistently good character, good people will accept you. Our likability is rooted in our relatability. People are drawn to those who they can trust and are authentic. Those who show humanity – not neediness or arrogance. Those who listen not dictate. Those who lead to serve not control. There is no room for ego there. Only compassion and acceptance of ourselves and others.
Don’t Neglect the Good People
Your relationships aren’t one sided. Sometimes we spend so much time focused on gaining approval from the negative person that we neglect ourselves and the great people around us. Reinforce the positive people with such exuberance that nobody – even the negative people – will want to be excluded.
Stay in the Moment
Reinforce your strength with mindful daily practices that keep you present in the moment so that you can observe your emotions unfolding and draw the boundaries necessary to keep your presence before you act out in a way you regret. Meditate. Read inspirational material. Exercise. Do craft. Develop a hobby. Be as gentle with yourself as you would be with a friend. Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be calmer and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com.