Sometimes people will do things to just annoy you.
Sometimes people will do things out of anger, misunderstanding, lack of concern, or just plain hate. We can’t control other people but we can control ourselves.
We can’t control how other people react to our decisions but we can control how we react to them. In fact, there is a lot about other people that we just can’t control.
No matter how hard you or I try, there will always be someone out there who you just can’t get along with. That person may even be a member of your own family.
In the end, what matters is how you present yourself and how you treat others, regardless of how they treat you. Now. That is not saying that you have to allow yourself to be passive, a doormat, or taken advantage of. Taking the high road means none of these things, it means that you are controlling the situation enough to A) not make a spectacle of yourself and B) treating others with respect, even when they don’t deserve it.
This takes practice. Sometimes, you will really want to give this person a piece of your mind. Tell them what they really deserve to hear, am I right? Actually, no. I’m not. If someone is so hateful, that they feel the need to spread that hate, think of how miserable they must already be. Why contribute to that hate? What is retaliation really going to solve? You might feel better in the moment. You may feel a sense of relief by hurting that person as much as they hurt you but believe me when I say that feeling is only temporary.
Others may not have the urge to tell someone off but instead avoid the conflict altogether, which is also counter-intuitive. You deserve respect just as much as the next person. You can’t force someone to have respect for you but you can have enough respect for yourself to define what is an acceptable treatment of yourself and what’s not. This is all about boundaries. We learn “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all” and we internalize it. But realize that this saying has its limitations. You don’t have to degrade someone to stand up for yourself.
Respond, But With Class
If someone is degrading your character or has said something downright mean to you, there is no harm in responding. It’s how you respond that matters. You can respectfully and authoritatively let them know that you do not appreciate the things they are saying about you and need them to stop. Again, you cannot control what others are going to do. They may not stop, it may make them angrier, but at least you have let them know that what they are doing or saying will not be tolerated. If they are saying these things publicly, remember that people are watching how you react, too. If they are calling you hot-headed, and you blow up on them, how does that reflect on you? We are all responsible for our own actions and you can control the situation by controlling your reaction.
Maybe someone has been talking about you behind your back and word has now gotten back to you about the nasty things they have been saying. Confront them in a non-hostile way. Ask them what causes them to say these things about you but not to you? Are they afraid of hurting your feelings or are they angry about something they feel you have done to them? Sometimes people will talk behind other’s backs as a way of passive-aggressive retaliation. If you feel someone has been making extra aggressive remarks towards you recently, simply ask them about it. Getting your feelings out in the open and allowing them the freedom to really express their feelings may reduce feelings of hostility.
Do Something Nice For Them
This is more for you, than it is for them. We actually increase our own happiness when we do something nice for other people. It doesn’t have to be a large gesture, just something small or thoughtful. If they don’t appreciate it, then that’s on them but at least you can know that you tried to do the right thing. If its a genuine act of kindness, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
I know this seems like a passive response but some people just cannot be reasoned with. Sometimes you can confront them until you are blue in the face and you cannot change their opinion of you or reason with them. If all else fails, then it may be best to distance yourself as much as possible. Some people are just toxic, unfortunately. Sometimes, for the sake of your peace of mind, it is best to consider the source, make peace with their opinion of you, and move on. Sometimes the best revenge is moving on with your life without them, anyways.
Overall, try to keep in mind that very, very few people are hateful for just no reason. It doesn’t necessarily that you have done anything to cause their behavior, this may just be who they are as a person. By controlling your reaction, or lack thereof, to their venom is ultimately remaining in control of the situation. What is most important is your peace of mind and knowing that you did the right thing.