What to do when someone acts shitty.
I hate it when this happens. You’re having a good day, minding your own business, when out of no where someone does something shitty.
A driver cuts you off. Your sibling pulls some passive/aggressive bullshit. You catch your friend in a lie. Your partner loses his/her temper for what feels like no reason.
Everyone handles shittiness differently and depending on the circumstance, I can either quickly let it go or stew over it for a week.
Recently I received a painful one line text from someone in my life.
I wasn’t expecting the text, but who’s ever expecting to be shit on, right? (Unless you’re a new mother or parent to an elderly, incontinent animal.)
The text hit me hard and sent me spiraling down all kinds of ugly, dark paths.
I knew the negativity and self doubt churned up by this zinger wasn’t helpful and after 2 hours of spinning my wheels, I called in reinforcements.
I talked with a dear friend. Then my brother. Then my mother.
And what they all said boiled down to these 5 steps to deal with shittiness.
1. Breathe - Take a breath. One hand on heart. Other on belly. Feel how you feel. Let it be OK. Repeat.
2. Notice the spiral - Though we can’t control how people make us feel, we can control how we engage with our feelings. Rather than going down the rabbit hole, imagine yourself standing above your feelings, as if you’re watching them on a movie screen. No judgment. No trying to fix anything. Just watch what’s happening within you rather than stewing IN IT.
3. Question your knee jerk reaction - Planning an elaborate revenge scheme does little to alleviate pain. Sure it feels good in the moment but ultimately we feel just as slimed after we take revenge as we did after getting stung. Before you go with your knee jerk reaction, ask yourself, “Will this cause more pain or resolve it?” “Is this reaction honoring my needs or trying to avoid further conflict?” and lastly, “How do I want to feel?”
4. Send back what’s not yours - When someone acts shitty, often it has nothing to do with you. Or at least only 50% has to do with you and the other 50% is all theirs. Take a breath and imagine sending back the 50% that’s not yours for them to own and heal.
5. Heal yours - After you send back the 50% of the conflict that’s not yours, heal the 50% that is. Get support. Talk to a friend. Journal. Question why this interaction hurt in the first place and remember to be incredibly kind and gentle with yourself through the healing process.That’s what I’ve got for you this week.
Though I hope no one slings shit your way any time soon, if they do, now you know how to handle it without taking revenge, staying in bed for the day or passing the shit on to another unsuspecting someone.
Lots of love,
P.S. Know someone who’s in the middle of a shit storm? Send them this.
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