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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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