People make me mad sometimes and I think I’ve worked out why
I’ve noticed recently the way some people behave and the choices they make in their life often make me really annoyed. I probably sound like a crazy person so please bear with me! But maybe this is something you can relate to and if you can, I hope what I’ve come to realise might help you too.
I am increasingly aware that I get frustrated that other people aren’t ‘better at their lives.’ That they don’t see through commitments, that they put themselves first rather than others or that they say or do things that are cruel or hurtful. Why can’t people just be ‘better’?
I read Jen Sincero’s How To Be A Badass a few months back. In the book Jen talks about how feeling negative towards others is really telling me more about me than it is about the other person. Having those negative feelings towards people is holding up a mirror to myself and potentially showing me stuff I don’t want to admit about who I am or how I think.
But I’ve really struggled with the concept of the mirror. I’ve never seemed to be able to really dig down into what that mirror is showing me. Why can’t they just do like I do?! I know I need to be less controlling, but is that it? Even identifying that I’m trying to be controlling doesn’t seem to stop me feeling this way.
Then I listened to an episode from The Life Coach School and something clicked. Host Brooke talked about Unconscious Negativity. Bingo. I think that’s what’s going on here.
Maybe you think you’re a positive person. Maybe you think I’m sounding overly harsh of other people! I certainly thought I was generally positive before this.
But I’d test whether you are 100% positive with the following questions Brooke posed:
- Do you complain about negative people?
- Do you notice when people are negative and does it bother you?
- Do you blame other people for the way they act?
- Do you think people should be ‘better’ at their lives?
If any of these ring true you probably have unconscious negativity.
These sorts of feelings make us feel superior in some way. “That person is stupid/useless/aggressive etc. and I’m better than that.”
Separating ourselves, elevating ourselves or thinking we have some kind of secret that others don’t only ingrains the negativity. And if we start off with one negative thing our brain starts to seek out more and more to confirm our belief. It’s a negativity spiral that doesn’t end.
I had a boss in a previous job who was extremely negative. Whilst on the surface he was a hardworking ‘can do’ kind of person he was unendingly negative about other people we worked with.
“Can you believe they did that?” “I had to do everything for them, they’re so stupid” “Did you see what they wrote? Ridiculous!” “I’m the only one that knows what to do here!”
The negativity was exhausting. I barely wanted to respond to him by the end of my time working at that company. I didn’t like being negative about colleagues and counterparts all the time. All it did was bred more negativity and drained me of any motivation to reach out, connect and build relationships.
The thing is the only person that was living with that negativity was him. And me by passing it on I guess. But the people he was talking about? They have no control over how he felt, the only person suffering is the one being negative.
Have you ever said “I don’t like that person, they’re so rude/loud/angry/self-centred/fill-in-the-blank.” It’s reassuring in a way – we tell ourselves we’re okay with not liking them. We give a reason that seems logical. “It’s fine, I just don’t like them.”
But notice the difference between fact and feeling. Why don’t you like them? That negative reason is how you feel about that person. And the only person that controls your feelings is you.
Brooke drew a great comparison that resonated with me as my wedding approaches:
On your wedding day you’re surrounded (hopefully!) by all the people that you like and enjoy spending time with. Imagine if every day was like that?
Newsflash: it can be.
Because you can choose how you feel about other people. And yes, some people are easier to like than others. But it’s your choice to dislike or hate and its largely you that will suffer if you do.
Does this resonate? Do you think you might have some unconscious negativity in there that needs identifying? Don’t be negative about it! But notice it and remember that you have the power to change how you feel.