OVERCOMING NEGATIVE EMOTIONS THROUGH COMPASSION
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Written by: Lynley Evans, Resilience Coach
Are you that person that is suffering from negative emotions on a daily basis!
Well, there are ways around it, and compassion is one of them. Compassion is giving the other person space to be miserable without interfering. It is only when we give space that the cycle of suffering can end.
We all have to deal with difficult people in our daily lives. It might be a boss, co-worker, in-law or family member. It might even be a spouse. Regardless, we must find effective ways to deal with difficult people.
I know, that from my personal experience, dealing with difficult people, particularly at work, where we spend the majority of our time, can be very draining, and has taken me down a path that I would not have expected. It is difficult to know what my direction would have been if I hadn’t gone down the controlled line, where I did not think that I could be my true authentic self. Now, this is something, that I have learnt is very
important, for us to be our true selves. I was always trying to be what everyone expected me to be, and not truly being myself. And it did mean that I went down the path of low self-love, anxiety, and depression. This came about by taking things personally and taking on everyone else’s problems as my own.
Compassion helps us to empathize with the suffering that drives irrational, disrespectful, and hurtful behaviour. This helps us depersonalize the behaviour and recognize that this disrespect or anger towards us, is more about their internal suffering than about us. In this way, we defuse our anger, fear, worry, or frustration about what that person did or said. Clarity arises and we can now see how hurt or damaged the difficult person is and we no longer take their words or actions personally. As a result, we react effectively and manage the situation skilfully.
A compassionate approach with a difficult person enables us to avoid being drawn into their behaviour, and reacting by feeling guilty or responsible, offering advice, judging, defending, arguing, crying, worrying, withdrawing, being passive-aggressive, feeling helpless and overwhelmed, or inappropriately involving others in the conflict. We may end up mimicking the behaviour of the difficult person, which makes us appear as if we
had caused the problem.
We must take responsibility for the reaction the difficult person seems to generate in us. As we manage our reactions, we come to realize how much the difficult person is suffering. A sense of calm and clarity emerges as we feel compassion for the other persons suffering, allowing us to problem-solve more effectively.
Compassion does not mean you lay down and die and do nothing. It means your emotional reactions no longer control your response, and you can make better decisions about how to handle the difficult person. You then problem-solve more effectively by recognizing that the difficult person is ill.