“When you get in the mud with a pig, you get dirty and the pig gets happy.”
This is one of those problems in life that has a simple solution that is hard to implement. It becomes more difficult the closer one is to one of these crappy people. Even though I know what I should do, I still find it hard sometimes.
These kinds of people are not worth your time or stress. Every second of your life that you spend with someone who is a negative is not only a second you lose from something you value more, it takes something out of you. It’s not not neutral it is a draining negative. The effect of dealing with them will linger with you and continue to take away from your precious life. It’s like a left hook to the head followed by a right. And for particularly crappy people you might as well take an uppercut to the chin as well. You may suffer the effects for days to come.
It’s your life and you don’t get it back. You don’t get a do-over. You waste it on stupid, needy, irritating, toxic, and generally crappy people and YOU LOSE.
Making It About You
When you think about, stress about, talk about, or in any way do something about crappy people, you thereby make their problem all about you. This is where you make the big mistake.
In my own life I have done a great deal to eliminate this problem but I still have a long way to go. In listening to the chatter of others, I think most people suffer from it a lot. They sure spend a lot of time talking about the crappy humans that they deal with; reliving the events all over again.
The Simple But Not So Easy Solution
What follows should be obvious. While writing it I kept saying “Duh!” to myself. However we seem to need to be reminded about what to do because we obviously aren’t doing it enough.
Three simple words: Avoid, Ignore, and Forget.
Avoiding crappy people is the first strategy. If you know a crappy person avoid them. This is obviously easier to do if the crapper is a friend of a friend than if she is your mother in-law, but still in almost all cases you can avoid these people more than you might think. It takes guts to walk away or avoid people who are close to you but you need to set boundaries.
People who interact with you need to understand that it takes two to tango, and that you have the right to avoid them if they do not respect your terms for engaging in the dance. Often times your family, friends, or colleagues will look down upon for being anti-social or refusing to engage. However it is your right to live your life as you choose and that includes avoiding crappy people no matter who they may be.
If your mother-in-law (or your mother) is at your home for the holidays, you have a right to inform her that she cannot act that way in your home. She can either behave or leave. If you are at her home you can leave. If you decide you can’t leave you can go into another room and read a book, go outside, or otherwise disengage.
Let’s say you can’t actually avoid the person or you chose not to avoid them. You can then utilize the second strategy and simply ignore them. Don’t talk to them. Whatever you do do not argue with them. Don’t complain about them. Keep quiet. To do otherwise is simply to elicit more crap. If it is your boss or a colleague say as little as possible and meet as little as possible. You can still be professional, you just choose to keep quiet if at all possible.
The human tendency, trust me I know, is to be outraged, to fight, complain, and stew about it. If you can’t avoid then ignore, ignore, ignore, and ignore some more. DO NOT ENGAGE THEM IN ANY WAY.
It’s amazing how much better you feel and how much less interesting you are to the crappy people in the world when you simply ignore them.
If you have failed to avoid and ignore you are left with the final strategy of simply forgetting about it. Whatever has happened in the past is done and gone so forget about it. Why relive the problem again and again? Every time you think about it, say something about it, complain about it, stress about it, or do anything but forget about it you are reliving the pain all over again.
You can’t change people no matter what you think. You will waste your life trying and frustrate yourself to no end. Just stop. Avoid. Ignore. Forget. Remember the quote from James Altucher at the top of this article and don’t play with a pig.
This may seem obvious, but evidently most of us can’t seem to do the obvious.
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