How To Handle Mean People

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Meanness emerges when someone feels like they have no personal power. At some point in a mean person's life, they were crushed by someone and they're afraid to experience that kind of pain again. When anger is viewed through this lens, we can all relate to being hurt and we are all wounded, but here are other options that are more productive than malice. Confidence Coach Laure Redmond joined us with some steps to help you handle mean people. She says it's helpful to remember that you have power over your reactions to other people's mistreatment.

  1. "Back to Your Bridge You Evil Troll, You Have No Powers Here" When someone acts like a jerk, let them know how you need to be treated, but do it non-defensively - have the courageous conversation - call out the behavior, not the person; cite specific examples.
  2. Practice Patience Patience is the capacity to welcome difficulty with a spirit of strength, endurance, and dignity rather than fear, anxiety and avoidance. When difficulty with someone arises, notice the things you say and do or don't say and do - the subtle ways your body recoils and tightens. To practice patience is to notice these things and to be fiercely present with them rather than reacting to them or escalating.
  3. Ban Blame Stop blaming anyone for what happens, even if it's actually someone's fault ... Everything that happens, disastrous or mean as it may be and no matter whose fault it is, has a potential benefit and it's your job to find it. Take full responsibility for everything that arises in your life. Ask yourself: What can I learn from this? And how can I make use of this experience?
  4. Do Good Intentionally Do positive things. Say hello to people, smile at them, tell them you are sorry for their loss, ask if there is something you can do to help. These are normal social graces, but to practice them mindfully is to create less vitriol in your world. The most effective response to meanness is compassion.
  5. Head for Calmer Seas Mean people are plagued by deep self-loathing; this comes out as anger and unfair judgement of others. Mean people try to convince others of the wrongs and injustices they see and of their own superiority. When they succeed, their group becomes larger and remains in conflict with any group that doesn't include their point of view. These people are in pain - have compassion for them and move on!
  6. As You Get Older, All You Have is Your Attitude Instead of aging into jealousy, bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurity - switch your perspective like a fine wine - Be bright, complex, earthy, elegant, friendly, juicy, and opulent.

For more helpful information, visit Laure's website. She's also available for private coaching for individuals or groups.