Feelings and attitudes are like germs – highly infectious. To promote our own happiness and that of the people around us, we need to protect ourselves from toxic attitudes and emotions that might come into our circle from time to time.
But how do I stop myself getting angry when someone is angry with me, or vengeful when someone is out to get me? It’s not easy, but here are a few ideas.
1) Vent – with a time limit. Yell at the mirror, punch a pillow, or write how you feel. Once the time limit (eg 10 minutes) is up, burn what you’ve written, clean the mirror or smooth out the pillow. The purpose of venting is to get rid of, not to reinforce, the bad feelings. Therefore it should be done away from other people and not on Facebook – otherwise you are spreading the poison rather than reducing it.
2) Breathe deeply.
3) Think of all the things you are grateful for. Really get into this.
4) Of the above, think of the things that the person who upset you does not have the privilege to enjoy.
5) Find some compassion for the person.
6) Meditate or pray with a warm and kind intention towards that person. If this does not come easily, draw a picture of good things you might wish upon the person if they were your own precious child.
7) Go and enjoy doing something completely unrelated.
8) If you speak to other people about the situation, refrain from complaining about the other person’s wrongdoings. Instead focus on what you are trying to achieve: “I’m trying to remain calm and kind in a situation that’s testing me.”
If you have any other ideas for dealing with toxicity from other people, I’d love to hear them.