It’s not fair! Why do I have to be the one to change?
Have you ever had to hit your brakes or swerve to avoid another car? Maybe you had the right-of-way at an intersection but the other vehicle didn’t yield like they were suppose to. In these situations, it’s easy to get upset. Even though you were doing everything right, you were the one who had to make a change to get the desired outcome; in this case, avoiding a collision. It isn’t fair!
The same holds true for our interactions with other people when we’re in person (and not in a car). We think we shouldn’t have to be the one to change. It just isn’t fair! Yet adapting to the situation by carefully choosing our response can help us get the outcome we desire and avoid a “cortisol collision.”
Yes, it would be nice if the other person would change, but it can be difficult to control other people. Instead, we can ask ourselves, What action can I take that would make this situation better? When we’re feeling frustrated or drained because of another person’s attitude or behavior, it can be difficult to see any good options. This week, reflect on possible choices ahead of time to make them more accessible in the moment.
Here are a few tools to try from the Choice step in the “Immunity to Negativity FormulaTM” –
- Validate their feelings. Build rapport by coming from a place of concern and caring. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is to truly listen so that they feel heard.
- Set a time limit for them to vent. Ask what they want out of this conversation with you. How can you help?
- Ask if everything’s OK. Instead of letting their bad mood trigger your bad mood, use this simple question.
- Set boundaries from a place of compassion and patience, not frustration. Be ready to step back and not engage or fuel the drama.
- Don’t react. If you remove their control over you, they may get bored. Psyching yourself up to be prepared for the negativity and not reacting can help.
Even though it feels unfair that you’re the one adapting and not them, remind yourself that taking time to Pause, Notice, & Choose a helpful response will make your life easier and the situation better for everyone.
Get more tools in the free videos from my course, Keep Your Positive Edge: How to Build Your Immunity to People’s Negativity.