Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mean People Suck

Bitches are Everywhere

Dealing With Individuals Whom We Dislike


Mean People Suck
No matter your age, occupation, gender, or situation it is impossible to avoid individuals whom we dislike or don't get along with because quite frankly, bitches are everywhere. Mean people suck but unfortunately we are often forced to deal with them in a number of situations- at work, in social settings, in the classroom, on the street, and even in line at Starbucks. It seems that despite how hard we try to eliminate mean people and negative interactions from our lives they always find a way to sneak back in. Perhaps it is because of there abundance; could it be true that bitches are everywhere? Or maybe we continue to encounter individuals whom we dislike (or G-d forbid people who don't like us) because we are all so different and these differences make it impossible to be compatible with everyone.

"You can please some of the people all the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."

- John Lydgate


This is a quote that is frequently over used however its prominence does not detract from its valuable meaning. I find it relevant to this entry because it indirectly speaks to the fact that there are just people out there who we cannot please and likewise individuals who are unable to please us. Put simply, we can't get along with everyone. Luckily, we typically have the option to choose who we do and don't spend time with. We have the ability to pick friends with whom we mesh. We can choose to surround ourselves with positive people that add to our lives and enhance our happiness. We have the luxury of deciding who is worth our time and effort. But, sometimes we are not given this choice. There are occasions and situations that force us to interact with mean people or bitches or individuals whom we dislike. 

"We have the ability to pick friends with whom we mesh."
In my life this fact has materialized in the relationship I have with one of my current teachers. From day one we just did not get along. Her teaching style does not correspond with the methods of my previous teachers. Her knowledge of the subject and course material is certainly lacking (and that is putting it kindly.) And I automatically sensed bad energy radiating off of her and heading my direction. It felt as if my presence in the classroom was and is a nuisance to her. I don't know the reason for this initial and mutual dislike but I have definitely been aware of it since the beginning of the semester. As the past weeks have gone by I have picked up on subtle cues that she was not fond of me but I attempted to ignore them or set them aside because I didn't want to create an issue. (She is after all my teacher and subsequently the individual who will be evaluating me and grading my assignments. It is certainly less than ideal to piss off the person who has more authority than you- teacher, boss, parent, supervisor.) However recently the tension that has been building came to a head in the form of a face-to-face confrontation. The details of the situation are unimportant in order to present my case. Both of us were in the wrong, I admitted fault and apologized, and I even agreed to attempt to meet her requests in order to improve the relationship. But as I left the discussion it became apparently clear to me that this teacher was simply one of those people that I could not please. Although our negative feelings toward each other are now out in the open we still need to complete an even more daunting task: figuring out how to deal with one another for the remainder of the semester despite our mutual dislike. It's easy to say that mean people suck and it's even relatively easy to come to terms with the fact that bitches are everywhere; but neither of these statements will solve the issue at hand. How are we able to deal with people whom we dislike? I am going to turn to a book that I recently bought, Instant Happy by Karen Salmansohn, in an attempt to answer this question. The book suggests to,

"View your tormentors as mentors. Ask yourself, 'What is this person meant to teach me?' Every person in our lives has a lesson to teach. Some lessons include: How to be stronger, how to be more communicative, when to trust your intuition, how to be more self-loving, when to let go, why you want to be nothing like this person."

As I was flipping through the book today I came across the page that included this notion; it was exactly what I needed to read and/or hear at the moment. I was so angry at this teacher and frustrated that I was going to have to interact her for the next 2 months. I strongly dislike her and just what to be rid of her but I know that this desire is an impossibility. I needed to figure out a way to approach the situation that would enable me to deal with her and allow me to continue making progress as a student.

This perspective, viewing those we dislike and/or bitches as people who are meant to teach us something, allows me to recognize the value in this bad relationship. This instructor has the ability to teach me a few of the aforementioned lessons: how to be stronger, when to let go, and why I want to be nothing like her. During our confrontation today I was able to stand my ground and make clear, rational, and persuasive points. Despite being emotionally distraught I remained strong enough to articulate a fair and honest argument in order to support my case. This bitchy teacher helped me realize that I can maintain a strong mind and sound point of view in the face of adversity or a threat. Her negativity toward me also guided me toward the fact that I needed to let go. It became clear that I am not going to be able to manifest a close relationship with  like I have had with my previous instructors and professors. She showed me that it is time for me to stop trying to create something out of nothing. I need to let go of the idea that I will connect with her and accept the connection for what it is- a shitty relationship between a teacher and an over zealous student (ie. myself.) 
Bitches are Everywhere
Lastly this instructor is the perfect example of who I never want to be and what I want to be nothing like. She neglected to acknowledge my positive attributes- passion for the topic and my ambition- and cast a negative light upon these qualities, asserting that my questions disrupted the course of the class and that my participation often led our discussions astray. I was confused by her criticism because I have always been applauded for speaking up when I don't understand something (often my confusion reflects that of other students who fear using their voice or admitting a lack of comprehension.) Additionally, most instructors have always commented on my willingness to engage in class discussions and the positive contributions that I bring to class via participation. This teacher's critiques left me perplexed; she was making claims that completely countered everything I have been told by professors in the past. Her condemnation for my level and quality of class participation has left me feeling embarrassed and insecure. I no longer want to add to class discussions because I am afraid of being judged and/or disliked by this teacher. The person who is supposed to inspire students, build confidence, and promote ambition has single handedly thwarted my desire to contribute in the classroom. She has instilled a fear within me that will certainly prevent me from reaping the full benefits of the course and consequently hinder my ability to advance my knowledge in the subject. 
Shall we learn to deal with individuals whom we dislike?
I want to be nothing like her because I never want to be responsible for detracting from someones passion. I never want someone to fear expressing themselves because of my potential reaction. And I refuse to ever condemn a person for exhibiting genuine interest and care about a topic. This instructor was mean to me and that sucks; however, her nasty words and behaviors prompted me to think about the person that I want to be. I want to inspire people, help others recognize their passions, foster interest in different subjects, and be a positive influence for anyone that I encounter. By thinking about this teacher as a "mentor" rather than a "tormentor" I can continue to learn from her throughout the remainder of the semester. Dealing with her may not be easy or pleasurable but at least I can find some value in the relationship. However this approach can be difficult to implement; we can't always see past our dislike and find a way to recognize the positive in a negative situation. Sometimes the only way to deal with individuals whom we dislike is to make light.


"Make light" of the situation-

"If evil be said of thee, and if it be true, correct thyself;  if it be a lie, laugh at it."

- Epictetus


The portion of this quote that I want to focus on is the final line- "if it be a lie, laugh at it." So often we are unable to get along with people because they dislike us for reasons that are untrue or misconstrued. 

"...people dislike us for reasons that are untrue..."
For example, in my case, my instructor finds issue with me because she interprets my behavior in class as being inconsiderate or selfish. However I know that her perception of me is incorrect. I speak often and ask numerous questions not because I am solely concerned with my self-interest but because I have a true desire to understand the concepts and learn. I know that my level of participation is a consequence of my want to learn and reflective of my zeal. However, she has interpreted my actions in a different and incorrect way; she has misconstrued my motives and consequently has formulated a falsified image of me as a student and a person. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons for our inability to get along. My case is not unique; frequently people misunderstand and/or misinterpret our actions and subsequently form a negative opinion about us. In these cases maybe the best thing for us to do is to just laugh it off. We know what our true desires and intentions are. We cannot blame ourselves for other's interpretations nor can we control how other people perceive us. When we have difficulty with others because of their own inaccurate perceptions and assumptions we need to simply let go, as the previous quote suggested. Remind yourself of your true intent or motives behind your behavior. 
Sometimes you must laugh it off-
Accept that this person with whom you don't get along has created an untrue idea of who you are and what you are about. And then just say fuck it. Laugh about it. Add some levity to the situation. You know that they are wrong but you don't have the capability of altering their view; therefore the only thing you can do to cope with the situation and/or deal with the individual is to laugh. They are wrong and that is not your fault. Sometimes we just have people in our lives who suck. Joke about the fact that they are stupid, judgmental, or incorrect. Often the best cure for unfortunate situations is laughter. If you can't appreciate the relationship for its value than at least take advantage of its humorous element. Yet, sometimes even this approach is too difficult to accomplish or its simply inappropriate and then we are forced to find a new means of dealing with individuals whom we dislike. We are left with one last way of handling mean people or bitches- gaining a level of tolerance. This method is not easy either; in fact it may be the most difficult. But if we are unable to like someone, often the best alternative is to at least find a way to tolerate them.

"It requires less character to discover the faults of others than it does to tolerate them."

- J. Petit Senn




It is very easy to pick apart other people, recognizing and criticizing all of their misdoings and inadequacies. But at the end of the day what does this practice serve us? Great, I can call my teacher a bitch, I can say that she is mean and unjust, I can assert that she has poor teaching skills, and question her knowledge of the subject; but ultimately how do any of those things help me? Ok, they may make me feel better momentarily but they don't support my cause or goal: learning about the topic and earning a good grade the course. Ultimately I have to figure out how to deal with my instructor whom I dislike in order to achieve my desired ends. I can try to recognize the value of the negative relationship and learn about myself from it. I can add levity to the situation and laugh about her misconceptions as a means of getting myself through the remainder of the semester. But if these methods fail me I am left with my one, final tool: tolerance. 


I am viewing tolerance as a skill that can be learned or a circumstance that we can adjust to. For example, when we turn off the lights and are left in pitch black we are unable to see at first. But, as time goes by, our eyes begin to adjust to the new lighting and we are able to see things that we could not see initially. Lets imagine tolerance in the same way. Perhaps at first the circumstance or person seems absolutely unbearable. But, as time progresses we can learn to adjust, tolerating their faults, shortcomings, and irritating behavior. Hopefully with time I will be able to adjust and gain a level of tolerance with respect to my  instructor. Think about the people who you interact with from day-to-day. I am sure there are a number of individuals whom you dislike that you are forced to engage with because of work, school, family relations, etc.


Fix the way you deal with those you dislike so that you can live with them-
How have you been dealing with these people? What is your method of handling negative relations? Is it working for you? Is it negatively impacting others around you? Is it prohibiting you from performing to the best of your ability? If your current way of dealing with these bitches who seem to be everywhere isn't really working for you then it is time to implement a change. Take your pick- find value in a seemingly negative situation, laugh it off, or manage to gain a level of tolerance. Mean people suck but unfortunately we are going to continue to encounter them for the duration of our lives, and sometimes we don't have the option to avoid interaction with them. Therefore we need to adopt a means of dealing with people whom we dislike; if we don't we are sure to suffer- mentally, emotionally, academically, professionally, and personally. We can't afford to limit ourselves because we are unable to please and/or get along with everyone whom we encounter. I encourage you to make use of one of these tactics the next time you are forced to come face-to-face with one of your "tormentors." You have the strength within you and now you have the equipment to deal with the abundance of mean people that populate this earth. Don't let someone whom you dislike prohibit your success. Don't let bitches stand in the way of your ability to move forward. Let us acknowledge that mean people suck and then use our power to deal with them.

Use your strength to beat the bitches,
xo


Don't let the bitches waste your time; learn, laugh, and/or tolerate instead !

"family.ca," Anti-bullying Ad for bullying.org-



3 comments:

  1. I can't believe how much of my time has been WASTED on mean people. Thank you for saving me from squandering any more. I will follow your lead and use the tools you have offered. Learning the skills of acceptance and tolerance will help to insure no more of my life is stolen.

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  2. Did you ever think that you might be a mean bitch?

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    1. Actually, the thought has crossed my mind. As I asserted in my blog we all have people in our lives that we dislike and with whom we don't get along. I am sure many of these people may consider me to be a bitch because quite frankly we just can't like everyone. I'll admit that there have definitely been times when I have been mean to said people and I have certainly had my bitchy moments. (We all do !) In fact, I often say that I am probably one of the nicest people you will meet until I am provoked and then I will turn into the biggest bitch that you have ever seen. I suppose my potential aptitude for bitchiness is the reason that you did not include your name in your comment, deciding to cowardly respond anonymously.

      My question for you is, why did you bother to visit my site and read my personal entry, which offers insight and advice, if you think that I am a mean bitch?

      Regardless, thank you for visiting and subsequently contributing to my growing number of daily hits. I am sorry that you have not found my blog as useful as other individuals who continue to read and follow it. I hope you are able to find a resource that is able to offer you the motivation, guidance, and inspiration that you are looking for.

      Best,

      Rachel

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