Someone Makes You Feel Bad Fairly Often? Here's What to Do About It

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DOES SOMEONE'S negative attitude ruin your mood often? You can do something about it but it may not be what you think. Let's look at an example and see how it works.

John’s wife sometimes gets grumpy, and her bad mood makes him unhappy. He thinks she shouldn't be in a bad mood so often. She “allows herself” to be irritated by things that are really no big deal.

A few times John has been angry enough to tell Darleen to quit being such a negative person, but it didn’t go well.

What can he do? How can John change Darleen’s attitude? If he did, John is sure he would be happier.

This is a fairly common situation, but there is an inherent flaw in the whole thing. Let's think about this for a second. Something is happening that puts Darleen in a bad mood. Darleen’s bad mood puts John in a bad mood. Darleen would like the circumstances to change so she isn’t in a bad mood. John would like Darleen to change so he is not in a bad mood.

In other words, John is doing exactly what Darleen is doing, and then he is self-righteously condemning her for what they are both doing.

If John can’t get himself into a better mood regardless of what Darleen is doing, what right does he have to ask Darleen to do so? And if John can get himself into a good mood regardless of what Darleen is doing, he no longer needs Darleen to change her mood to suit him.

Either way, if you find yourself in the same position as John, you need only to focus on one thing: Improve your own mood regardless of what the other person is doing.

If you can do that, you won’t need to change the other person. At that point, however, you would be in a position to help the other person by telling her what you’ve done that works. And your showing and telling wouldn’t be done in self-righteous anger or impatience. It would only be done out of caring because you no longer need her to change. You no longer have any urgency or a demanding demeanor. And you also understand how challenging it can be. That will make your suggestions much easier to accept.

And you’re in a position where whether she accepts your help or not, you’re okay either way because you know how to improve your own mood regardless of what she does.


Peter 10:45 PM  

This is so obvious and yet so easy to overlook... :)

Thanks Adam, you've just improved my relationship with my boss. :)

Adam Khan 1:00 PM  

You're welcome, Petru.

Some of the most important ideas are "obvious." I remember when I first read Dale Carnegie's book on human relations, I kept thinking, "That's obvious." But then about halfway through the book, I realized as obvious as the ideas may have been, I almost never did any of them and neither did anybody I knew.

Knowing something is one thing. Doing it as a matter of habit is something else entirely. And some things are only worth knowing if you do them.

Peter 1:28 PM  

"Wisdom is the doing". :)

I had the same reaction to Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people". I was listening it on my way to work and I was thinking... "This is common sense": smiling?, using another person's name? In comparison, Earl Nightingale's "Lead the Field" seamed like occult knowledge. :)

Adam Khan 2:07 AM  

I was thinking the same thing, Petru. Smiling? Giving someone a sincere compliment? Letting the other person save face?

Completely obvious.

And yet how many people do you see every day violate these "obvious" principles?

Earl Nightingale's Lead the Field is one of my favorite audio programs. And there is some stuff on there that was NOT obvious.

Peter 3:23 AM  

I see myself violate these "obvious" principles and that's enough :)

PixieMoonbeam 11:31 PM  

Speaking of Dale Carnegie...

Another great read of his, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" is a favorite of mine. Although certain parts of the book are dated, the bulk of it is extremely worthwhile. It is full of inspiring examples of practical tools people used to face their challenges during some of the most critical times of history.

Carnegie himself advised that one reread the book regularly for the reason that we all tend to not practice, or even remember, what we already know.

I'm getting better at the practicing part. I have been battling depression for a long time and this year I am determined to be rid of it, WITHOUT MEDICATION.

Thank you, Mr. Khan, for the positive and useful information you impart. I am always looking for extra weapons to add to my arsenal.

Adam Khan 1:56 AM  

You're welcome, PixieMoonBeam,

I really like Stop Worrying and Start Living also. Great book.

Listening to audio programs in the car and when doing other things like shaving or doing dishes is a great way to trickle in these powerful principles over time.

Personally, I seem much more willing to listen to something ten times than read something ten times. Whatever works.

Good luck with your depression. Your goal is probably possible. I recommend as a good resource.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

I have a customer at my workplace who often makes me feel stupid or picked on..I am a server and other people are always sitting around him while this is going on...I feel like a child almost being bullied in school..How do i deal with such a negative person like this?

Adam Khan 2:21 AM  

You should make up a story about the customer, not to tell anybody, but to change the way you feel toward him. Create a story that makes you feel sympathy for him instead of anger. Learn more about this technique here:

Disarming Hostility

Paul Jr 12:51 PM  

According to my father I have have never did anything right in his eyes yet I have succeeded in all my working ways. Ever since I was younger he was always against me until I lost most of my weight, I was a size 40 in jeans then lost weight and went to size 34. Then I was doing good and he accepted me and was happy till I was in a motor vehicle accident. Now he treats me like he did when I was a fat kid again !!!!.

Adam Khan 2:07 PM  

Paul, that sucks. I hope you will be able to find ways to improve your mood with or without your father's approval.

This article might make the task a little easier.

This one might help too.


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