We spend a large portion of our lives caring. We care big and small, around the clock, ultimately making a full-time job of it.
We even care about mean people – more specifically, their opinions. We care so much about those opinions that we let them alter our processes. We allow them to permeate every corner of our lives so that all we think about is what they think or how poorly they make us feel.
That is a lot of power and influence given to someone, oftentimes a complete stranger, who does not have your best interests at heart.
Here are three ways to smother and detach toxic opinions from your everyday life:
- Don’t personalize everything
Yes, this is much easier said than done. But when we grow in this category, we feel less of a sting. There are many people out there who will sling hate for no reason. Some want to destroy character or attack confidence, while others just do it because they’re unhappy with themselves. Why does their opinion matter if you don’t know them from a speck of sand on the ground? If they aren’t an opinion you cherish, move along.
Remove them. Block them. Ignore them. In other words, make them disappear. This doesn’t make you weak or at a disadvantage. This is you protecting yourself from negativity. Pretend you are giving advice to your bullied child – would you tell them to pursue a conversation with their bully and tolerate that behaviour or would you tell them to ignore and stay clear? Over ten years ago, I removed everyone who was toxic in my life. I purged my “friend closet.” It was the best thing I ever did. It isn’t healthy to keep toxicity around when you have the power to remove it.
- Address the problem
If you are inundated with other people’s toxic and harmful opinions, throw out a well-worded (or strongly worded) response to the hate. Offer a warning and a follow-up. Tell them they will be removed if this is a social media problem. If this is a real-life problem, tell them you are no longer offering up second chances. When we put on our brave pants we create the opportunity to learn more about our boundaries and potential. Telling someone off doesn’t mean you are in the wrong – especially if they have crossed over your personal boundaries. If you feel you can’t do this on your own, seek professional help on how to handle this conflict moving forward. You might be surprised by what you are capable of doing for yourself!
Next time someone offers you an unsolicited opinion, how will you handle it?