Mean People and Their Motives
Photo credit by Digital Explorer; creative commons license
The quickest way to shut down or shut out trash talk is to know precisely who you are and have confidence in your own vision. If your confidence is the least bit shaky, someone else’s negativity or just plain mean behavior can send you scrambling for solid ground.
I was with someone recently who was momentarily thrown by an anonymous (pronounced KOW-ward-lee) communication that was a direct attack on her, both personally and professionally. She was stung, thrown off kilter. Yet, when we stopped to think about what the person was really saying and the only reason for the remark, I found myself chuckling. The comment wasn’t about her, not at all. It had nothing to do with the person I was with and everything to do with a near-stranger who was insecure and jealous. The person I was with had total confidence in her abilities and was quickly back on track. The allegations simply weren’t believable because she had confidence in her vision and knows her own mind very well.
I’ve had the same thing happen to me many times in my life. There was a time when I worried what people thought or I felt that their opinions of me were more valid than my own. These days, I recognize that attacks on me are generally nothing but a reflection of the attacker. Sometimes they attack as a way of trying to force me to do their bidding, such as to tell me how bad I am at something that they want for free from me (big hint: nothing will backfire more). Most of the time, though, it has to do with jealousy and insecurity, which are really the same thing.
The most recent insult I’ve endured from a mean person? Having a woman who was jealous of something in my life ranting with wild gestures that I was dumb. I didn’t feel devastated by her opinions of me because I know without any doubts whatsoever that I’m not dumb. She has no credibility with me, so her words don’t matter to me. I think she expected her comment to incite me to bitch-slap her down the street but instead, I guess I just made her madder by doubling over in laughter.
Once you’re confident in who you are, in what you believe, and in your own abilities and vision for your life, then there’s nothing a mean person can say that will do anything but make the attacker look pathetic.