If there were no people in our lives, our problems and issues would be very different. We might only worry about what to eat or where to sleep – the more basic things. Thankfully, our lives are full of people. They are mostly people we love and want to spend time with; sometimes, however, we are forced to interact and engage with people who are not on our wavelength. They might be difficult people in general or people who have taken a dislike to us for some reason.
It’s even more painful when this person is someone we are close to. The stakes are higher, and it forces us into conflicts and circumstances we would rather avoid. Luckily, there are some excellent ways of handling the difficulties of living and working with other people. Learning to accept their various quirks, issues, and different personalities is one of them. Another is handling our own emotions, so they don’t come to dominate our lives and turn it into a negative experience.
In this article, we look at the importance of healthy communication and what techniques we can use to improve our relationships with others to become more harmonious. Don’t let the negativity of others influence the quality of your life; find out how to handle it skillfully in the sections below.
Learn to Accept Others
We all have difficult people in our lives who we struggle to get along with for one reason or another. It might be your partner, your friend, a family member, or a colleague. Every time you’re in that person’s company, there is a strange feeling between you. Maybe something is off. You might expect them to say something negative in your direction, or simply get the feeling they don’t like or appreciate you, which makes things awkward.
One thing to remember is that we are all complicated human beings with our own issues and difficulties. We all have different personalities too, and sensibilities. One thing is for certain; we won’t get along with everyone we meet, so it’s useful to keep this in mind. Some people are too different from us to be friends with, and that’s OK. Accepting this fact is healing, as it takes the pressure off people to maintain a false idea of what they mean to each other.
The other thing to remember is that people have their own set of issues and circumstances. The fact that they display negativity in your direction is a clear sign they have issues of their own that are unresolved. It’s far easier to project their issues onto someone else that it is to dig deep into their own difficulties. This is a very common and expected behavior in human beings, so don’t take their negativity too personally.
Turn Negative into Positives
If you listen to other people’s negative comments and opinions, it can lead you into a downward spiral of negative thinking and self-worth. It can happen so easily. If, for instance, you have a family member – perhaps an in-law – who doesn’t like you or has a low opinion of you, you might take their comments to heart, especially if the rest of your family holds them in high regard. It can be a difficult situation, but there are some good ways to handle it.
Even if communication is an option, it’s worth the effort to explore within yourself why you feel that way in their company. If they do make comments, why do you feel or react (internally) the way you do? Exploring and understanding the deeper effects of these negative situations can lead to a more wholesome understanding of who you are. This will not only benefit you in terms of better self-knowledge and understanding; it will ensure that you are more robust when entering a situation with a difficult person.
When you are in the company of a difficult person, try not to react to their negativity. After all, a reaction is what they will be looking for, don’t give it to them. It may be possible to explore your feelings in the moment but take note of them. Try to remember the situation and the circumstances around it for future reference and to work within your own time. The key to turning a negative situation like this into a positive is to view it as an opportunity for you to grow into a stronger person.
Become Aware of Emotions
You might have heard the term ‘emotional intelligence,’ in short, it refers to the way we understand and respond to the feelings that arise within us. There are many ways to do this, methods and techniques that could take a lifetime to master. But you don’t need to be a master of emotional intelligence to use these techniques to improve your communication and live a healthier way of life. Below we take a look at some useful methods that have been known to work well.
Instinctively, we all have emotions. And we have mental attachments to these emotions. When we feel angry, it’s natural to shout; when we feel happy, we smile. Becoming aware of these emotions means stepping back from them when they arise, experiencing them in the body but not reacting with them. Of course, it is a difficult thing to do, especially in the heat of the moment when passions are high; but with practice, this technique can become second nature. It will serve you well at times when you need most.
This kind of self-control will mean that you don’t overreact, or even react at all when you are being insulted or criticized. Your mind will not be attached to the emotions arising in your body, and therefore you will stay calm. This calmness will have a knock-on effect. It will probably calm down your counterpart as well, making communication more constructive. To facilitate this, you tell yourself that happiness is arising, or anger is arising. Both of these experiences are simply emotions that you can skillfully command.
Don’t Take it Personally
When you have a fight with a friend or loved one, it can be hard not to take it personally. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, people say things they may not mean that can have a hurtful effect. Then, following the argument, you tend to over-analyze what happened. You tend to think about what they said and defend yourself moreover. In this way, anger and ill-will builds up; it can turn into resentment, which is extremely toxic for your system.
The chances are that what was said in the heat of the moment was not really meant. If that loved one or friend could take it back, they probably would. Of course, ‘things said’ it can have a damaging effect on a relationship, and the extent of that damage will depend on your willingness to forgive. However, in the first place, try to understand that the argument or disagreement is probably the result of a misunderstanding of some kind that can be resolved with time, attention, and creativity.
Reflect on how and why the argument came about. One of the most effective tools at your disposal is to think of the argument from their point of view. What are their issues and sensitivities? Why are they acting and reacting in those ways? The way a scientist falsified theory to test if it’s valid, you should falsify the argument. Consider your own position and test whether or not you think it’s fair.
In this last section, we look at healthy communication, what it entails, and how it can vastly improve our relationships and overall life experience. Communication itself is a vast topic that includes Vodafone or its low-cost sub brand VOXI. But we are interested in the pragmatic tips and tech questions that will be useful to you right away. These include emotional intelligence, body language, and effective interactions.
To communicate meaningfully and effectively with a family member or loved one, we need emotional intelligence. As we covered previously, this means the skill and ability to step back from our emotions in the heat of the moment and respond instead of reacting. It also means stepping back from personal insults and not taking them to heart. Part of being an effective communicator also involves understanding that body language is a major aspect of our communication success. There is no point in apologizing when still angry; for instance, it will come across in your voice and have no effect. If you feel like you are still angry or still raw about something, it is still time for reflection, not communication.
If, however, you are ready to communicate with a difficult person, you need to be as clear as possible about what is bothering you and how it is affecting you. Statements such as, when you do ‘this,’ it makes me feel like ‘this,’ are very useful for getting a skillful conversation underway. The goal is always understanding. Good communication leads to understanding, and understanding is the foundation of harmonious relationships.