Keeping Calm When Others Put You Down
Tuesday, June 30 2015 Fay Agathangelou
It's important to keep calm when others put you down and that means staying level headed and reacting in a healthy way. Being put down by others can trigger self-esteem issues and cause emotional distress, if you allow it. The reality is that there will be people who put you down. Most people experience put downs at some point; and these can come from anyone including family members, peers, bullies or even strangers. The good news is that you can learn to keep calm and cope better when others put you down.
Tips on Keeping Calm When Others Put You Down
- Acknowledge your feelings. Put downs can trigger uncomfortable feelings such as shame, anger, fear or sadness. It’s important to recognise and acknowledge those feelings; it’s okay to have them and that there’s a reason for every feeling. What's important is the way you manage them.
- Acknowledge the put down and keep it in perspective. Accept that you were put down, it wasn't nice and it caused unpleasant feelings. But it’s a single situation and not your whole life. It does not define who you are.
- Know that other people's rudeness is not about you. Rudeness is a reflection of the other person’s issues and it’s important to not take it personally. It's not your fault. Even if the criticism has some truth, put downs are not okay.
- Stop overgeneralising. Being put down by one person does not mean you’re worthless or that everyone hates you. Know that you’ll never please everyone and that’s okay.
- Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Eleanor Roosevelt once said that “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
- Accept that you can’t control other people. Know that you can’t control what others think, say or do. Accept that some people will be rude or nasty and that's beyond your control. The only person you can control is yourself.
- Differentiate between a put down and criticism. Criticism can sometimes be interpreted as a put down or it might be delivered in a rude way. Being put down is rude, but criticism can be constructive. You can learn from criticism, and use it as an opportunity for self-growth. Ask yourself if there’s any truth to the criticism, even if the other person was rude. Take the lessons and drop the rest.
- Stop putting yourself down. Put downs from others are not permission to bully yourself. Treat yourself with respect even if others don't. Be your own best friend and believe in your own worth.
- Forget about revenge or blame. Revenge and blame are destructive and there's nothing to be gained. That is very different to seeking help, intervention or justice for those situations that need it. Focus on the things you can control, get help if you need it and concentrate on moving forward with your own life.
- Practice being assertive. Assertiveness is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice.
- Have healthy boundaries. This is important for your own wellbeing.
- Stop ruminating. It’s easy to ruminate when others put you down. However, that means you’re re-experiencing the put down over and over and reinforcing the negative beliefs about yourself. You’re adding to the hurt, too. It's important to clear your mind and stop dwelling on the past. You might want to try relaxation, meditation, creativity, physical activity or whatever works for you.
If you’re having trouble moving on after a put down, or if it's causing you distress, don't be afraid to seek mental health help. It’s important to address the underlying issues that are getting in the way of living because you deserve a fulfilling life. Empower yourself by learning to keep calm when others put you down.