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8 Reasons We Don’t Need To Get Angry With Rude People, But To Empathize With Them

8 Reasons We Don’t Need To Get Angry With Rude People, But To Empathize With Them

I was sitting on my veranda, drinking tea with a friend and enjoying the beautiful ocean breeze. And that’s when I heard someone shouting my name from the street. It was a neighbor, who we’ll call Jim, and he was upset. Very upset. “Who do you think you are?”, he screamed as he walked up my driveway. There had clearly been some sort of misunderstanding but Jim was so angry that he just kept shouting, without giving me the chance to clear things up.

My mind wanted to react and I felt a thought form: “What an a**hole!” But I resisted the temptation and instead, took a deep breath and remained fully present in that moment. I completely stopped listening to the words coming out of his mouth. I realized it wasn’t about me. This man was drowning in anger, resentment, pain, sorrow. I could feel it all as I tuned-in to his energy.

I then took a deep, conscious breath. As I inhaled, I visualized myself breathing in his anger. And on the exhale, I gave him love and compassion. And I followed up with these words: “I’m very sorry Jim if I offended you. It was not my intention.” Immediately, his energy changed. It was as if I had just burst the bubble of resentment he lived in. He was speechless. And right away I could sense that this man had never been shown kindness or compassion before. He didn’t even know what to do with the energy of love I sent his way.

He just stopped shouting, got into his truck, and drove off. Just like that. The next day, I was running in the mountains with my dogs, when I spotted Jim’s truck driving toward me in the distance. “Oh God, not again!” Just as I was hoping that Jim would drive right by and ignore me, he slowed down and came to a complete stop. He rolled down his window and looked at me. “Good morning Christina.” His eyes were filled with tears and I could sense this man was trying to apologize. He just didn’t know how.

He had never apologized to anyone before. So I helped him out. I reached through the window and put my hand on his heart. “It’s ok Jim. Everything is ok.” He smiled and I could feel a huge load lifted from him. And just like the day before, he drove off without saying another word. For days after that encounter, I thought deeply about what it all meant. It was without doubt, one the of the most impactful moments in my life. And I use this episode frequently, when teaching about the transformational power of love and compassion.

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My neighbor Jim showed me why we don’t need to get angry at rude people. And I’ve listed them below– along with specific ways in which we can better respond to a rude person, when we encounter them.

1. They are in pain.

I noticed this very quickly with Jim. His anger wasn’t really toward me, it was a more general resentment toward life. I knew a little bit about his situation to understand what may be causing this resentment. But even if you don’t know the rude person, you can safely assume they are living in pain. Why? Because whatever someone throws out in the world is always a reflection of what they feel inside. I felt compassion for Jim because I acknowledged how crappy it must be to live with such high levels of anger on a daily basis. And I consciously chose not to add to that anger by reacting in like fashion.

Tip 1: Take a deep breath and repeat this mental statement, or mantra: “I acknowledge and feel your pain.”

2. They may be simply passing on what they receive from others.

We communicate energetically with each other all the time. And we’ve all experienced this. Why do you feel great when you are in the presence of a happy person? And why do you feel drained when you go out to coffee with a Debbie Downer? It’s because we all absorb and share energy back and forth. Perhaps Jim had just had an argument with someone else and was just passing on that energy to me. Who knows.

What’s important to realize here is that we always have a choice on whether we want to perpetuate an energetic cycle of anger or love. We’re not robots and we can absolutely break the cycle of anger if we want to. With one breath, I was able to completely deflate Jim’s anger. And we all have that power.

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Tip 2: Inhale and visualize yourself breaking the energetic cycle of anger or resentment. Visualize yourself inhaling the negative emotion and then exhale love toward the person.

3. They unconsciously feel they deserve to live like this.

Life is made up of choices – both conscious and unconscious. And for so many of us, our lives are spent operating on auto-pilot. Perhaps we were mistreated as children. Or maybe there’s just an underlying sense of unworthiness. Whatever the reason, rude people tend to behave in the same way they unconsciously believe they deserve to be treated.

Tip 3: The best medicine for unconsciousness is awareness. In other words, become intensely present and send the energy of compassion toward the rude person. Follow up with this mental mantra: “You deserve kindness and compassion.”

4. They are reacting from the ego, not responding from the heart.

There’s a difference between living life from the heart versus the ego or mind. The ego is a reactive mechanism, sort of like a guard dog. Its job is to attack first … ask questions later. The heart operates in a completely different way. The heart is the seat of love and compassion. It has a broader perspective on things. It doesn’t react to life, it responds to it. A rude person is simply operating from a strong and reactive ego. But underneath that ego is the consciousness of love, which is really what we are all made of.

Tip 4: Actively acknowledge that you are choosing to respond with your heart, not react with your mind. You can do this by repeating the mental mantra: “I am present and listening with my heart.”

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5. They can change in an instant.

That is exactly what happened to Jim. One day he’s screaming and angry at me, the next he’s at peace and has tears in his eyes. This is the power of unconditional love. It’s transformative. So never assume a rude person will be like that forever. We all have the capacity to change. Try to always look upon another person with hope. New beginnings can be just one moment away. Or one day away, as was the case with my neighbor.

Tip 5: Repeat this mantra: “We all have the capacity to change.”

6. They are unconsciously asking for compassion and kindness.

Underneath the thick armor of ego lies a tender heart. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to see the heart, the consciousness within, because the ego is covering it up. That was certainly the case with Jim. With every nasty word he was screaming at me, I felt my own ego wanting to get sucked into the drama. But we can train ourselves to be what I call “Soul Seekers”. A Soul Seeker is someone who can see past the ego. They have X-Ray vision that can spot pure consciousness in another person, even if that consciousness is cloaked over with anger and resentment.

Tip 6: Repeat this mantra: “I am a Soul Seeker and I see the beauty in your heart.”

7. They may be showing you something about yourself.

Life is constantly mirroring things back to us. It’s also constantly testing our level of awareness. Whenever we find ourselves in a loving, peaceful situation, we can safely assume that love and peace exist within. But the opposite is also true: if we find ourselves in an angry situation, we can assume anger exists in us on some level. This became clear to me a few days after my encounter with Jim. I was meditating and I noticed some anger surface, when I rehashed the whole episode in my mind.

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Tip 7: Sit in silence and alone for a few minutes and close your eyes. Use the power of your awareness and scan your body for any points of tightness. Anger frequently gets stuck in our muscles. You can follow up with this mental question: “What am I angry about?”

8. They are your greatest teachers.

Oftentimes, personal growth and evolution of consciousness comes when we encounter painful situations in our lives. People who upset or hurt us are often the ones who teach us the most about life. They challenge us to see our own inner darkness and force us to choose how we want to live life. Do we want to live from the prism of ego and be reactive? Or do we want to live from the prism of the heart and be responsive?

Tip 8: If you find yourself confronted by a rude person, take a deep breath and repeat this mantra: “What are you here to teach me?”

In the end, I am so very thankful to my neighbor Jim for teaching me so many lessons on that day. From him, I learned the power of unconditional love. And everyday I choose to pass that on to others.

Be brave. Choose love. Even when anger seems easier.

Featured photo credit: The Way of the Exploding Fist via flic.kr

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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