Q: What do you say to yourself when someone is unkind or annoys you?
A: Practice gratitude. Immediately think of that person’s positive qualities. Think of when that person has given you support in the past. Use positive memories to drive out negative ones before they have a chance to build up into a mob of angry thoughts.
The only way to control how other people treat us is to control our own behavior. Yes, It’s very hard to stay enthusiastic and joyful when others are being selfish or unkind. This is amplified by our natural human instinct to perceive the negative before the positive (our ANTs – automatic negative thoughts).
However, Eknath Easwaran, in his amazing book, “Conquest of Mind” tells us that to combat our ANTs, we need to replace each negative thought with a positive thought. When? Immediately when the negative thought begins to bud in your mind. Cut it off at its source.
Easier said than done right? I agree. But nothing is impossible (some things are just really really hard). Here are some tips to help:
Over the years, I’ve learned that nobody dislikes me enough to intentionally treat me with malice. If I’m being treating less than polite, that person is always fighting their own demons, or just doesn’t prioritize me in their life — I can forgive this.
It’s empowering to ALWAYS change your perception to attribute bad behavior to the other person’s ignorance rather than their intentional unkindness. So, the next time, someone is being less than nice to you, smile, beam them love, and watch as their angry facade melts away!
If you practice this enough, your automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) will be replaced with (APTs- automatic positive thoughts). You will grow into a person that not only won’t be bothered by the negativity of others but the kind of person that doesn’t even notice the negativity of others! Think of yourself in terms of a type of boat, you will become a big boat like an ‘aircraft carrier’ rather than a tiny ‘canoe’. Tiny waves, outside your control, will easily tip over a small person, whereas these waves don’t even register as problems too big people.
PN: Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaren
101: Conquering Depression 101