What’s up, readers? I’m Samuel, Community Director and Co-Founder of Undergrad Success. My column will run each Thursday until you get sick of seeing it…and then it’ll run every Tuesday and Thursday.
Each day, we meet, communicate, and interact with dozens of people (assuming you leave the house). Whether you’re extroverted or introverted, communicating effectively is crucial both to your personal and professional life. Paramount to this communication is your outlook on others and how they communicate with you.
Do you look to others before looking inward? Do you always accept blame? Are you quick to think you’ve done something wrong when someone gets mad at you? Do you let people treat you with less respect than you think you deserve?
If you answered “no” to all of those questions, stop reading. Go about the rest of your day. You’re going to be fine. Oh … and enjoy this picture of Lenny Kravitz wearing a giant scarf.
But if you answered “yes” to any of the above, here are 4 things you need to do and understand to navigate your relationships more successfully.
1. Stop putting other people on pedestals
You heard it in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and here it is again. Many of us are quick to idolize or idealize those we don’t know much about. We make snap judgments and throw others into stereotypes. Figuratively speaking, we’re comparing our “behind-the-scenes” with their “highlight reel.”
Stop it. Right now. It’s unhealthy and it’s a sure-fire way to find yourself being a Negative Nancy … a Debbie Downer … a … you get the picture. Everyone has his or her own struggles. They can’t be dealing with your insecurities about their success. It’s time to start putting yourself on a pedestal. You’re entitled to success just as everyone else is. Go get it.
2. Not everything is your fault
When something goes badly, we’re quick to assume it’s our fault—that we did something to cause it. This is a problem for two reasons. First and foremost, it’s entirely narcissistic. I could write an entire article on this (and I will), but you are only responsible for your actions and emotions. You will never be responsible for another person’s mood. They are a product of their own actions. Just as you are able to do so, if they don’t like their situation, they can change it.
Second, it gives the other person power over your state of mind—in particular, your emotions. This negative minded thinking allows them—consciously or subconsciously—to dictate your emotions through their actions. I shouldn’t need to tell you why this is bad.
3. How others react often has nothing to do with you
We all face personal challenges. We might be learning to love ourselves. We could be stressed from a death in the family. Perhaps you’re upset over recently losing a job. There are a myriad of things that affect ours–and others attitudes–on a daily basis. Understand that most people don’t know how to communicate effectively. Combat this by being prepared for this potential lapse in communication or you’ll end up having far more problems than you’re equipped to handle.
The key takeaway is that we aren’t responsible to fix, change, or alter anything for anyone. Know that if someone reacts poorly to something you said, they might just be having a bad day and to not take it personally. Often these backlashes go unrecognized by the offender. They may not in their most emotionally cognizant state of mind. If true, chances are your feelings are the least of their concern.
If something they said has truly offended you tell them how it made you feel. If they can’t respect that, you need to move on. Take responsibility for yourself. Let them do the same.
4. Stop Putting Up With Bullshit
It’s blunt because it needs to be. You’re the only one who knows when you’ve been disrespected. We all have our lines that others can’t cross without our blood boiling to new levels. I can’t give you confirmation of what is and what is not okay. You need to figure that out for yourself.
The point is that you can’t allow yourself to be disrespected. Yes, this seems like common sense; but again, it needs to be said. How many people do you know who allow their significant others to disrespect them? their bosses? their friends? Stop taking crap from people who are supposed to be influential in your life. If their definition of “abuse” is different from your own, you need to voice your concerns. If they disregard them, you need to cut them from your life. Immediately.
It’s not my intention for this to be negatively focused. I want it to be honest and reflective of what many of us face. We need to be open to new ideas so that we can learn from our experiences to be certain we don’t allow mistakes to happen more than once.
Ultimately, all we really want is connection. We want to connect with family, friends, significant others, coworkers, bosses, recruiters … the list is endless. If this helps you get there a little more fluidly, awesome. If not, let’s discuss personal coaching. In the meantime, try not to take yourself—or others—too seriously.
Let me know what you thought of this article. Leave me a comment (I promise I’ll reply!) or tweet at me.
See you next Thursday.