How many times have you heard people refer to others as someone who has made them feel bad? On the flip side we also comment on how good others have made us feel. This blog aims to look at how much power people really have on our emotional state and how much is actually just a product of our own thinking.
Each and every person on this planet will have their own unique way of seeing the world. This is influenced by our up bringing, our conditioning and our life experiences. Even the television programmes we watch can have an impact on this perception. Therefore there could be no two people ever to live that will have exactly the same life history and thus the same interpretation of the world.
There is a common misconception that the world happens to us and this causes a change in our emotional state, in reality the emotional state we are currently in has a huge impact on how we perceive the world.
Think about it, if you’re feeling that everything is ok and are in a content state of mind and you’re car breaks down you may find it an annoyance but it’s not the end of the world. If the same events happen when you had already found yourself in a discomforted state of mind then the way you perceive it may be far more negative.
By the same token if someone treats you badly and you are feeling confident and self assured to begin with the person may have a much smaller impact on how you feel, instead you may realise that their actions and behaviours actually say a lot more about them than you.
Can you think of a time in your own life when you have been angry and upset and you’ve snapped at someone or judged them too harshly? On reflection it’s clear to see that your reaction to them was simply a by product of the way you were thinking and feeling and had far less to do with them.
So how can we protect ourselves from taking on the negative attitudes and states of minds of others? How can we feel confident that other people can not control the way we feel about ourselves? One of my favourite sayings is “it’s their thing.” If your partner comes home from work and snaps at you for no reason reminding yourself of this can help you to see their snapping is probably a result of the tough day they’ve had and actually has nothing to do with you. Taking this approach reduces the often exaggerated, faulty thoughts such as “they no longer care about me” or “I’m always getting it wrong” Which then in turn leads you to feel low.
It’s worth noting that as humans we receive hundreds of pieces of information in to our unconscious mind at any time. In order to process this we filter out the information that is deemed important to us. In NLP this is referred to as deleting, distorting and generalizing the information we receive. We make sense of others thoughts and behaviours by comparing it to our own. This does not mean it’s true.
To put this in to context, you see someone driving in a dangerous manner. You may automatically think along the lines of “What an idiot.” However that person maybe racing to an emergency or have just had some shocking news. We make sense of their action by our own perception and not necessarily the reality of the situation.
If we do this all of the time to others then they do it to us too. So next time you feel hurt or doubt yourself because of the actions of another it’s worth remembering they are only using their map of the world and they are deleting, distorting and generalizing the information they have about you and that doesn’t make their assessment correct.
Attribution theory shows that generally if we do something wrong we tend to blame external events however when somebody else does we generally make it about them or their characteristics. Perhaps next time someone treats you harshly it’s worth considering the motivation for their behaviour, perhaps they are trying to vent other frustrations or take a look at the potential triggers.
We all act inappropriately towards others from time to time and reflection upon this helps us to reduce the frequency, it can also help us to understand that an individual’s behaviour towards you is almost always more about them than you.