The world contains people that I like to call ‘killjoys’ or ‘Debbie Downers’. Intentionally or not, these folks have the ability to burst your prettiest bubble.
The bad news: you can’t do anything to change the nay-sayers. Nothing. Accept that. Move on.
But, you can prevent these folks from getting you down. Keep reading!
You know who I’m talking about…
I called up my mom last month, immediately after booking my surfing lessons. Here’s how the conversation went:
Wow. Yeah, uh… I hope I don’t die too.
Never mind that shark attacks are actually incredibly rare: you have a one in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a one in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark. Statistics and facts usually don’t matter to a downer… they have their beliefs, and they want to share them.
Here are some other great ones I just have to share:
How to be bulletproof
You know that song?
You can’t stop the verbal bullets from flying. All you can do is prevent them from hurting you.
Tip 1: Accept that people have fears
In the case of my (fungus-fearing) uncle, he had a legitimate reason for saying what he did. He fought in Vietnam (where his brother was killed) and I’m sure he saw men contract this horrible fungus (among many other traumatizing incidents). He was, quite frankly, horrified that I was spending my vacation in a place that was so personally painful to him.
Should I be offended that he voiced his well-deserved fear? No.
Can I do anything to change his opinion? Probably not. In most cases, changing the nay-sayer’s opinion isn’t really your job.
Tip 2: Listen to the underlying message
My mom’s worry (about me getting killed by a shark) reveals some true facts:
- She heard about shark attacks on the news, and believes them to be probable.
- She can’t swim, magnifying her fear of the water.
- She really loves me, and she would be devastated if anything happened to me.
See that? She loves me. She says crazy things… at bottom, because she cares about me and wants me to be safe.
With that in mind, I reassured her that I would be very careful to avoid sharks. And the bullet bounced right off.
Tip 3: Keep in mind that ‘haters gonna hate’
Some remarks come from a place of caring… like the first two examples I talked about.
But what about this little gem?
I’m pretty sure Mrs. Cranky Knitter didn’t have any secret fears of slow knitters or a well of deep love for me. She actually just needed a confidence boost for herself, and she achieved that by putting me down.
The mean comment had nothing to do with me. In fact, I’m actually a very fast knitter! The comment had everything to do with how the speaker was feeling.
[Tweet “When someone says something mean… it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them!”]
So, now that you know the comment isn’t about you… why let it get to you?
Tip 4: Sympathize with the other person’s experiences
The woman who thought my sweater would turn out to be too small? She was much larger than me. (Actually, this incident has happened to me countless times!)
In her experience knitting, an adult-sized sweater is a certain size. Mine was smaller than that size. She then inferred (incorrectly) that my sweater wouldn’t fit an adult. This comment was based on her experiences of the size of a sweater.
Notice a pattern… another comment that had nothing to do with me!
Aren’t you feeling a little stronger already?
People are going to say whatever they’re going to say… but you don’t have to let it get to you!
You know what 5 year olds say, “I’m like rubber and you’re like glue… whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!”