How do you deal with life’s Negative Nellies.

21 Sep

By Lindsey Goodall

4 writers, 4 months(ish), 15 random topics= the beginnings of RandomWriters.

My friends and I wanted to increase accountability by joining forces to post on random topics each week.  We spent some time brainstorming almost 30 topics and then to maximize randomness, we drew the topics we had chosen out of a hat for each week remaining in the year.   If you haven’t seen the first two posts this week, I’d encourage you to check out Gil’s and Jeff’s from Monday and Tuesday. Make sure you check Lee’s tomorrow for her thoughts on this weeks topic!  I’m extremely excited to be doing this with 3 of my nearest and dearests!  Hope you enjoy!

Random Writers Topic #1: How do you deal with people who don’t believe in you?

I think this is one instance where fight or flight comes naturally.  When we aren’t recipients of others approval and acceptance we either get defensive or we say “well, screw you”.  In our own heads, we can do no wrong, so when faced with the reality that others don’t hold us in such high esteem our natural instinct puts us on the defensive. In some situations, the fight response leads to a determination to prove the disbeliever wrong, which can ultimately have a positive response, but honestly, I think most of the time or at least a lot of the time, the offended chooses not to rise the occasion.

A friend of mine’s favorite quote is “Truth without empathy is cruelty” by Mother Teresa.  Ever since I heard those words come out of his mouth, I’ve used it to frame out how I view difficult situations like this.  I believe that by facing the truth, with kindness towards self, and putting it squarely on the table in front of myself, and ultimately dealing with it, is the healthiest way to handle people who don’t get what you’re trying to do.

But that requires acknowledging that maybe their misgivings are not misguided and possibly, just possibly, I am a gigantic douche bag.  Perhaps they have a reason to be concerned.  Perhaps they have recognized patterns in my behavior that are justifiably weak regarding the situation at hand.  Acknowledging their perspective, whether I feel they are right or not, can help me rise to the occasion. . . if i let it.

But let’s be honest.  Sometimes, the offender is just wrong.  In those instances, the only answer is to go in for the kill.  And when faced with that kind of warfare, my weapon of defense is kindness.

I kill them with kindness.

I’m fully aware that “Blessed are the peacemakers” helps me justify far too much of my own behavior.  I come by it honestly though, my maternal grandmother avoided conflict at all costs and I see so much of my father in myself in this respect.  They were/are both kind people who look for the best in all people and valued/value the differences of opinion that make us unique.  Perhaps from holding these two in such high esteem that I can only hope that I ended up with the finer points of their character.

Before I go any further though, let me clarify that I’m not incapable of facing or handling difficult situations with people.  I think I hold my own pretty well, but I have honed my ability to empathize with all people which garners kindness in response and I believe that it has worked in my favor every single time.

Every single time.

So, I can only deduct that Killing them With Kindness is an effective approach.   I’ve actually given different variations of this question quite a bit of thought over the last few years and what I’ve come to realize about the “Kill Them With Kindness” technique is 1- it’s harder than it appears and 2- it is what Jesus would do and 3- it’s effective.

1- It’s hard because it requires empathizing with someone you don’t agree with and it requires forgiving someone for having a different outlook or opinion than you do.  When we’re talking about forgiving someone for offending our most precious possession, ourselves, it’s doubly hard to do.

2- Jesus forgives all the times we hold ourselves in higher esteem than we do Him.  He forgives everything we do to offend Him.  Be it murder, adultery, addiction or simple selfishness, He forgives all we do that pains Him. When we say the Lord’s prayer, we pray that we would forgive others as he has forgiving us. So I think it pleases Him when I forgive someone.  It’s not easy, but when I set out to do so, He sets my heart right.  It’s pleasing to him because it’s what he does.

3- Have you ever found it easy to scathe at someone who is smiling?  A smile evokes gentleness and kindness.  It’s downright impossible to be mean to someone who is treating you fairly and kindly.  Give it a try.  Be nice to someone who is never nice to you and watch how their attitude towards you changes.

The bottom line though. . . when was Jesus ever wrong?

So that’s my take.  I’d love to hear how you deal with situations like this.  Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.


Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Lindsey Goodall, Prompts


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2 responses to “How do you deal with life’s Negative Nellies.

  1. chezrobin

    December 3, 2011 at 10:22 am

    “….. I am a gigantic douche bag.”

    I just want to say that you could never be termed one of those…ever. That term is reserved for the most vulgar and contemptible people, and that is just not YOU.

    I am in total agreement with kindness as a healing vibe for negative people. They need to bounce off someone, they are feeling pain, uncertainty, fear, etc, and I always want to lend an understanding ear and a kind word.


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