BEING NICE TO MEAN PEOPLE

Posted on February 5, 2013 by Rebecca in Life, Uncategorized

My first ever corporate job involved a horrible boss.

Don’t get me wrong – I have thick skin – and can partake in my fair share of crude office banter (in fact, I would suggest I am usually the ring leader in this).

But this guy was truly horrific.

Upon reflection, I believe I was hired merely -a young thirty something female – as an ‘attractive’ accessory to this all male sales team.

He would talk to me as if I was a child and I constantly felt like I was ‘in trouble’ for my actions.

This treatment wasn’t exclusive to me and talking down to his workers was his way of validating his own cut throat manner.

Don’t believe me?

He once told me my hair looked awful, as I walked in to work first thing Monday morning. This was said in front of the whole office and he asked when I had had my last haircut. While I have a brilliant sense of humour, his aggressive manner left no room for banter.

Thankfully I also have ‘balls’ and I swiftly picked up the phone in front of him, booked a last minute hair appointment and told him I was leaving early that day.

He agreed.

I quit the following week.

Despite all his wrongdoings I still didn’t feel right investing time in concocting elaborate schemes to bring him down.

Firstly as this meant he was getting to me and secondly because the time I spent thinking about his downfall would have been better spent elsewhere.

It is so easy to be horrible to someone who is mean because we think they deserve it.

Do they?

The reality is that most mean people hurt others because they are hurting themselves.

Yes, they are not dealing with life in the right manner, but it is because they are inherently sad, not because they are inherently mean.

When our self esteem is shot it is easy to see the negative in the world around us and criticise the actions of others. Even if this is done in a horrible way.

Anecdotally, I know when am ‘not so nice’ it’s because I am feeling crap about the day.

So how do you be kind even when you feel like you shouldn’t have to?

Two things:

  1. Identify when you feel the need to be bitchy – is it because you had a bad day, you are feeling cheated or insecure? Has someone upset you? Take the time to notice how you are feeling before acting with contempt. This will stop you from being the ‘bully’, save you the drama of a potential fight and allow you to be kind to yourself first and foremost.
  2. If you are retaliating to someone else’s words or actions – is what they said about you true? If it isn’t, does it anger you because it has a hint of truth? Note that the person who was mean is probably dealing with their own issues and you happen to be the lucky person who receives their anger.

Ultimately, I am not advocating for us to become carpets in the face of cruelty. Rather I am suggesting an end to having to ‘deal’ with either your bad mood or someone else’s constant cruelty.

We need to walk away from the situation, find a way of appreciating why a person acts that way and learn how to nurture ourselves so we don’t become that very horrible person.

My aforementioned boss is still rude in my eyes and his actions were not cool.

But at least now I know why. He was being human, trying to deal with his own worries and anxieties. While he didn’t deserve my attention and care; like any human he needed to be understood.