What to do when someone acts shitty
I’m currently on maternity leave, elbow deep in diapers, drool and the daring adventures of motherhood. I’ll be back to coaching and writing in June and until then, please enjoy this favorite post from the past. XO, Jamie
I hate it when this happens.
You’re having a good day, minding your own business, when out of nowhere someone does something shitty.
A driver cuts you off.
Your sibling pulls some passive/aggressive behavior.
You catch your friend in a white lie.
Your partner loses his/her temper for what feels like no reason.
We all handle shittiness differently and depending on the circumstance, I can either quickly let it go or stew over it for a week.
Over time I’ve honed a few key steps to help me (and my clients) deal with shittiness. Here they are:
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 be mindful of how we engage with our feelings. Rather than going down the rabbit hole, imagine yourself above your feelings, as if you’re watching them play out on a stage from your seat in the balcony. No judgment. No trying to fix anything. Just notice what’s happening within you from this higher neutral place, 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 shitty 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 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.
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 onto another unsuspecting someone.
Lots of love,