Oh wow thanks… Wait, was that just an insult?
You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass. (Bruce Lee)
Today we’re talking about how to interpret things people say to you in a productive way. Sometimes, people say things that sound like a compliment but could also be interpreted as an insult. Likewise, sometimes people say things that sound negative even though they didn’t mean it that way.
How do you handle these types of comments? You could assume the worst and react defensively. That’s what most people do. But I have an approach that will get you much more mileage out of your relationships.
In short, you need to frame their intentions and their message in a positive light.
This boils down to two things:
- Not taking what people say personally
- Giving people the benefit of the doubt
Whatever they say to you or how they say it, catch what they said, knead it in your hands like a ball of dough, and don’t stop until you’ve turned it into something positive.
This is easier said than done, but with some practice you’ll find this approach to be very liberating. It leaves you feeling happier and less self-conscious.
And even if the other person really did mean the worst, well they’ll be disarmed by your positive twist.
Let’s look at some examples.
Billy, did you eat enough? Here take some of mine, I’m full.
Billy could interpret this as a warning that he’s eating too much. Instead, Billy can choose to believe that the other person probably had a late lunch and didn’t want to waste food. With this approach, Billy can happily respond: “Wow that’s so nice of you! Sure, let’s not let it go to waste.”
Hey Liz, I had a look at your draft of the presentation. We need to talk.
Liz could interpret this as her boss saying she did a poor job on the assignment. Instead, Liz can choose to believe that her boss prioritizes this above anything else and wants to make sure Liz can do her best work for this important presentation. With this approach, Liz can say “So nice of you to offer. I know how important this is and I welcome any feedback.”
So anytime someone makes a vague or off-color remark, you know the trick. Pretend that you found it to be a lovely compliment, instead.
You’re making it a point of treating what they said as sweet, tasteful, and considerate. Even if it wasn’t!
You can’t control what people say, but you sure can control how you react to what they say. (Mary Daphne)
And what you’re doing is showing that person you cannot be taunted, you’re a positive minded person, and you won’t let any negative remark (even said in jest) get to you.
I know that a response might be hard to give right in the moment but with some practice of treating every intention and message as positive, you’ll get into the habit of responding in a positive and upbeat way.
A lot of the time, people do really mean the best. And even if they don’t, it will make that negative person take their innuendo elsewhere because it won’t work on you!
Remember, you can’t control what people say, but you sure can control how you react to what they say.
I’ll see you in my next lesson! 😊
Happy Explearning 🐝