“How do I stay calm in situations where people are being disrespectful??”

By Katherine Hood on January 31, 2024


Submitted Request..

This post is an answer to a submitted question. It aims to provide help and solutions to overcome the issue.

Podcast version: HERE

Quote: “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him." ~  Epictetus

Adding to the quote:

 If someone has the ability to make you angry, they possess control over you, I get the sense this isn't what you want. Paradoxically, by allowing yourself to get angry, you are inadvertently giving them more power over you. It's important to recognize that this reactive habit can be flipped on its head, and doing so requires strength and determination. Once you are able to break free from this cycle, you will come to realize just how powerful you truly are. Taking control of your emotions and reactions is empowering, and it allows you to take charge of your own happiness and well-being.

 

Submitted Question

“How do I stay calm in situations where people are being disrespectful? For instance, when someone shows obvious disrespect by mocking you, calling you derogatory names, or making offensive comments about your loved ones.

I take pride in myself and certain things that are disrespected, but when I try to defend myself, I never succeed because the situation keeps escalating. Unfortunately, I can't resort to physical actions because it's against the law. The logical solution would be to simply walk away, but the negative emotions still linger, making me feel frustrated towards that person.”

My Response if we were in a coaching setting. Although without being able to ask questions, I may assume or use scenarios to fill in the gaps.

Believing that you can control other people will set you into a life of suffering and perpetual dissatisfaction.

Trying to control or influence others is pointless because everyone has their own thoughts and desires. It's important to realize that we can only control ourselves and how we respond to things. Reacting is giving your opponent what they want and they now have exactly what they want. Power and control over you.

It's easy to believe and misunderstand where our feelings come from.

In reality, no one can make us angry without our consent.

Feeling disrespected, less than, insecure, a victim, or judged isn't coming from what another person says; it's your judgments of the situation. A person who says things to you can't inject feelings into you, just like a teddy bear can't inject feelings of love, safety, and security into a person. It's not possible. Our culture and society want us to believe that, so we search for happiness externally. But that sets a human up for a life of misery and searching for things externally to make them whole, complete, and happy. It's a huge misunderstanding.

Instead, focus on improving yourself, increase your self worth, self confidence and deeply understand where your feelings come from. True happiness comes from accepting that we can only shape our own lives, not the lives of others.

Your feelings are a direct result of your interpretations, beliefs, and perceptions. It is your own thoughts and attitudes that determine whether we will allow ourselves to be affected by external influences.

Think of it this way: if I yelled across the street at you "I hate your purple hair" (assuming you have a natural hair color) you'd ignore me and think, wow that lady is crazy. You'd have no judgment, concern or beliefs about what I said, it's just gibberish, words, noises coming out of my mouth. You wouldn't make it mean anything, you wouldn't take it personally, you'd keep going about your day and likely think very little of it later if ever. I don't have the power to make you feel any sort of way.

If you do not allow yourself to feel hurt, you won't be.

This realization can be empowering. It means that we have the ability to take charge of our emotional well-being. We can choose not to give others the power to dictate our feelings.

When it comes to defending ourselves, the only option the other person has is to defend their position, beliefs or what they stand for.  Defensiveness is often an automatic defense or habit that’s been created by your past and your brain saw it as a means to keep you safe. Your brain only cares about keeping you safe.  

Being defensive is never a good strategy because it often leads to negative outcomes and further conflict. Instead, it is important to change how you respond to situations, by no longer reacting impulsively. By taking a step back and evaluating the situation objectively, you can make more informed decisions and avoid unnecessary arguments or misunderstandings. Lead with the energy that you want reflected back. 

Reacting to the external world may seem like the natural response, but it never brings about any positive results. 

By choosing to live life as it's happening for you, rather than feeling like it's happening to you, you can adopt a more proactive and empowered mindset.

Take control of your life and make choices that align with your values and goals. 

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation where defensiveness seems like the natural response, pause and remind yourself of the alternative. Choose to respond thoughtfully and calmly, focusing on finding solutions rather than assigning blame. By doing so, you can break free from the habit of reactivity and create a more positive and fulfilling life for yourself. Your brain and nervous system will thank you and you'll create a new habit with some repetition.

I hope this helps.

I wish you all the best.

Please share this with anyone you believe would benefit from the insights. Post a comment, I read and reply to them all. Thank you in advance!

If you want to send a question, please send to [email protected] please include: 

  • A coachable question (something that addresses what's in your control, your thoughts, feelings or actions.)

  • And context, explain a situation in the past, currently going through, or worries/concerns of the future, giving me some details on your thoughts and feelings about it. 

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