Have you ever dealt with an incredibly difficult person before?
I know, I know. Ridiculous question, right? Of course you have.
I bet that it was a miserable experience, wasn’t it?
I believe that one of the hardest things that we have to endure in our lives is dealing with difficult people. In fact, it’s so tough that I even wrote a free guide to help you navigate through the challenges of it (if interested, you can get it instantly by subscribing to the Go Together Movement Monday morning email series.)
In this post, I’m going to take it a step further.
Specifically, I’m going to talk about the people who are, without a doubt, the worst of the worst. While it’s true that difficult people are fairly common, the people that I’m about to mention, thankfully, are very rare.
I’m talking about toxic people.
You probably know who I’m talking about. They’re the people who are emotionally draining, constantly negative, manipulative, selfish, passive-aggressive, judgmental, emotionally (and possibly, physically) abusive, and/or narcissistic. And no, that’s not an exhaustive list.
Needless to say, these folks are dangerous and have the power to destroy your life if they are not dealt with swiftly.
The only way to deal with these people is to fully embrace the “addition by subtraction” philosophy.
I can promise you that using this technique when it comes to dealing with toxic people will positively change your life in ways that you wouldn’t even imagine.
Food, family, friends, football, fun (did I get all of the “F’s”?), make this the one holiday that I look forward to the most every year.
In addition to all of the F’s, what I also love about this time of year is that we get to mindfully reflect on what is really important in our lives, and simply be in gratitude, at least for a day.
I urge you to consistently remember what it is that you’re thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of your lives.
But that’s not what this article is about.
Let’s be real–chances are that if you’re choosing to read The Positivity Solution, you are already aware of the importance of being thankful for your health, your spouse, your kids, your home, your friends, your family and your job.
So, let’s raise the stakes a little.
This Thursday before we slip into our yearly blissful tryptophanic food coma, my goal is to add a new and very important thing to the many things that you are the most thankful for.
We were sitting in a coffee shop next door to my office when my friend said those words to me.
My friend is brilliant, funny, and an exceptional writer, but when I asked him what is stopping him from launching his own blog (something that he has talked about doing for months), that was his response.
He had more to say too:
“People are so cruel and judgmental. I don’t think that I have what it takes to put my writing out there for the world to rip apart and judge. There are so many haters out there.”
Sadly, he’s absolutely right. There areso many haters out there.
Some of you already know this, but it took me three long years to find the guts to publish my first ever blog post here on this site.
The reason for the ridiculously long delay, you might be wondering?
Fear of dealing with criticism from the haters.
Yep, that’s it. That fear almost stopped me from ever hitting “Publish” on my very first blog post.
It took me a while to completely overcome this fear, but now with almost a year of blogging under my belt, I can say with 100% confidence that haters do not need to be feared.
They do need to be dealt with, though.
The problem is that when it comes to dealing with haters, most people give the same tired advice that you have probably heard before:
Get a thicker skin.
Fight fire with fire.
There are definitely much better ways to silence the haters, so without further ado, let’s get on with the business of zipping their lips once and for all.
I know a four-word sentence that has the power to get a negative response out of almost anyone who hears it.
Are you ready for it? Brace yourself, because it might sting a little:
“I don’t like you.”
See? It hurts, doesn’t it?
For years and years, I did anything humanly possible to avoid having those four words directed at me. Believe me, I’m still a work in progress, but I’ve come a long way from being the guy who desperately needed to be liked in order to be happy.
If you’re currently someone who has a desperate need to be liked by others, get comfortable because this blog post is for you.
One day I was teaching a customer service class, and I remember a woman complaining non-stop about how miserable she was in her job.
She went on and on about how she hated all of her coworkers, she hated her boss, she hated serving customers, and most of all, she felt like her job was taking years off of her life due to “being around stupid people all day.”
When she was done with her rant, I asked her a very obvious question that she probably should have asked herself years ago:
“If you’re so miserable here, shouldn’t you consider finding another job that will make you happy?”
She was completely shocked by my question, before she finally responded.
“Well, I have bills to pay and I need this job. But that’s not even the issue. I just don’t understand why this company has so many idiots working here. They should be the ones who have to quit, not me…” Blah, blah, blah.
On and on she went. It was truly sad to listen to her.
She believed that the responsibility for fixing her unhappiness in her job belonged to her company, to her coworkers, and to her boss.
The fact is, no one is going to save her from a job that she hates–least of all, the “idiots” who she hates working with.
A while ago, I ran into one of my old coworkers at the grocery store.
We used to work together at the soul-destroying hellhole that I’ve described in other blog posts in the past. I haven’t seen this woman at all since I left that place for good many years ago, and I was very curious to find out if she was still working there.
One thing that I knew for sure was that she hated at working at that place as much, if not more, than I did.
Surely, she escaped and was joyfully working in a happy and healthy work environment, right?
Here’s a brief nugget from our conversation in the grocery store:
Me: “Hey, so are you still working at (company that is so wretched and awful that it cannot be named)?”
Ex-coworker (obviously embarrassed): <Deep sigh>“Yeah I am, but…”
Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people–the ones who really belong in your life–will come to you. And stay.” -Will Smith
I believe deeply in simplicity.
One of my biggest blogging goals is to take complex concepts about living a more positive life, and streamline them in hopes of making it easier for thousands (maybe millions, one day?) of people to finally put them into action.
Here are five of my favorite examples:
1) What you allow is what will continue.
2) Stop complaining.
3) Leave the world better than you found it.
4) You have nothing to prove to anyone.
5) Be your own hero.
And now, it’s time for another positivity solution (see what I did there?) that can save you from a ton of unnecessary pain and misery if you choose to follow it consistently:
Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.
Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...
I uncovered a power within myself
...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.