Our everyday life involves a lot of interactions with varying types of people, some we love so much that we can’t seem to end our day without talking with them or seeing them, and others we loathe enough that we can’t stand even seeing the sight of. Perhaps we feel awkward, envious, irritated, or nervous being around them, or worse, they provoke us because they are too clingy, insensitive, obnoxious, and rude. Or maybe they did something that hurt us so much that we couldn’t find any reason to forgive them.
For most of us, it would be ideal not to keep in touch with them at all. However, if this is what we will think, this would ultimately lead to polarization and differences even in our cultures. It also affects our mental and emotional health tremendously. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you’re battling in court with, a former friend that you saw in a party, or your former partner who just makes your blood boil every time you see him. Sooner or later – and the sooner, the better – you’ll have to deal with this hatred for your peace of mind.
“The strength of forgiveness has been shown to have a powerful buffering effect on stress. Those who are highly forgiving of themselves and others have a far less chance of having a mental illness.” – Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D.
Below is a list of fundamentals that you can utilize as effective tools to better deal with these interactions.
- Make Sure You Are Taking Care Of Yourself. It is more difficult to tackle a troubled situation or relationship if you have not taken care of yourself in the first place. You may have noticed that you are crankier when you lack sleep, or you were not able to do your usual exercise regimens, or you don’t feel well because your immune system is down. You need to be ready for these kinds of interactions, no matter how big or small it is for you. Eat right, exercise, and find ways to calm your mind like meditation or mindfulness.
“Prioritizing daily self-care and making efforts to take action. Accepting that daily self-care is hard work and challenging.” – Edna M. Esnil, PsyD.
- Create A Concrete Plan And Do A Mental Rehearsal. Studies have proven that levels of mental and physical stress are reduced when one can control and predict his emotions in a troubled relationship or interaction. To do this, you can plan a simple strategy that details a specific encounter and how it might probably feel. What are you going to do if the outcome is not good? Is there an alternative technique you can use instead of a violent reaction? What can you talk about that won’t alleviate the awkward situation? Your strategy may not precisely work the way you planned, but you are saving yourself from more emotional turmoil by being prepared.
- Don’t Take It Personally. Often, we don’t want to be around someone because he makes us feel bad about ourselves. We feel that we are belittled and it affects the way we think about ourselves too. But remember that we can’t please everybody, so we simply must learn to separate a person’s impression of us from our impression of ourselves. Perhaps the person doesn’t like us because of who he is, not because we are.
- Try To Be Empathic. Part of anger management or addiction program is to ‘convert’ hurtful or hateful feelings into feelings of empathy and kindness. An example would be finding a reason for a person’s intolerable behavior towards you, like, “Maybe he’s so insensitive because he has lived his entire life alone,” or, “He’s probably always mad or pessimistic because he has a dying mother.” Practicing kindness is simply deciding to send mercy and goodwill to others, even to the ones you hate. You don’t have to forgive the person right then and there.
“I’m pretty blown away by the idea of Loving-Kindness Meditation. Meaning, instead of drowning in sadness, purposefully spending a few minutes wishing people well (from you to a mentor to a stranger to a person you know struggling) can actually lead to productive actions and increase your joy.” – Jennifer L. Taitz, PsyD
When you have mastered these techniques and will be able to conquer hatred and replacing it with compassion and kindness, you can help the rest of the world by teaching others and changing others’ emotions positively in your little corner!