Everyone has times when they are hurt, either by the carelessness of someone in the general public, or a loved one who makes you feel less than loved. It’s an old cliche that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. Yet, it’s really true! So, if we can’t escape the inevitable (and hopefully sparse) times when other hurt us, what can we do to react more positively?
Send them well wishes in your mind.
As much as you want to throw them under the bus, accidentally spill your water on them, hex them for all eternity, pull their hair, or step on their hat, try to clear your mind and send that person a blessing. If you can see their selfishness, and they clearly can’t, then you are already in a position of wisdom over theirs. Perhaps they truly, truly can’t see their own actions. Maybe sending them a positive thought could make a big difference. At the very least, it can help you get to a moment of zen.
Try to avoid them, or go to your “happy place.”
It’s hard sometimes to avoid them if there’s no way around it. But, if there is, people usually show their true colors right away. If they have done or said something that was completely self-serving multiple times, then you can probably assume they will continue that pattern. Trust your vibes.
If you can’t avoid them and you need to maintain your reputation around that person, you’ll have to go to your happy place. It’s not a “real” place necessarily, but somewhere you can imagine while you’re interacting with that person, to take your mind off their selfish characteristics. Do what’s needed, and try to minimize your exposure, getting back to positive vibes as soon as you can, for your own health.
Tell them, but know the potential consequences.
This depends if they are a total stranger you will never see again, or someone you love and trust. If you think they would be open to receiving a message, maybe it’s time to tell them. As long as you are respectful and coming from a place of human understanding, if someone’s selfish actions are hurting you, you could tell them. They might not react well, so you have to really put some thought into this (or talk to a trusted confidante like your counselor).
If it’s a friend or partner you need to talk to, make sure to do so calmly and explain how it affects you. If you’ve told the person once already, and they are still doing it, determine how many times you’re willing to put up with it, then distance as necessary to protect yourself.
Common courtesy is not common knowledge, and the reason people often act selfishly is can be due to past trauma. They are subconsciously protecting themselves in some way, and their minds are closed off to how it affects others because they are in auto-survival mode. Perhaps some people are born with this more innately than others. Maybe they have had a lot of trauma. Or, maybe they had traumatic parenting. It’s easy to just discount them as “not good people,” but strong people know that there’s more to it.
Can we all work on our tolerance and understanding? Yes. And can we tell people when their selfishness hurts us? Yes. There is a balance and threshold that each of us can handle. It’s something we can all work on, because selfish people are not going anywhere, anytime soon. In fact, they may be multiplying! We can try not to be selfish ourselves, call it when we see it, avoid repeat offenders and talk to the ones we love who do it. Have more ideas? Let us know. Can you relate?