Why do we let people ruin our day? Out of all the factors out there ready to sabotage or peace, why is it that we give other people that privilege?
I can see if we got in a funk due to decisions we’ve made ourselves, our own mood swings or whatever we may be going through at the time, but why do we give strangers, co-workers and all these other individuals who don’t live our lives the time of day?
The answer is simple: ego.
The root of why we react and let other people get to us lies in the perception we have of ourselves and how we handle it when challenged.
You’ve seen it in the comment section of your favorite social media platform, on these sports debate programs on television and even in politics. Snap-back culture is not only alive, but it’s normalized. If someone offends you, offend back, regardless if it takes you out of pocket or character.
As good as impulsive reactions can feel and as justifiable as they may come across in our heads, what we too must understand is that in these moments our attention gives these subjects life.
The less we react to negativity, the less it will affect our lives. We think we’re doing something by giving a retort or that we’re defending some kind of honor by responding to trolls and haters when really we’re impacting our precious energy, which could be used elsewhere.
Negativity feeds on itself, so be aware of the things you may be giving life to or the character trait you’re building in yourself.
Whether it’s the jerk that cut you off in traffic, a boss who biasedly manages their employees or a television personality spewing nonsense, when we react and feed into it, we, as The Atlantic writer Jemele Hill so profoundly Tweeted the other day, legitimize their opinions.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but you give credibility to people who don’t deserve it by legitimatizing their opinions with your outrage. It doesn’t teach them to stop airing stupid opinions. It teaches them that their opinions matter.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 30, 2019
Our job is to not react in anger but to respond with intention. It’s only then that we can control our lives, instead of it being the other way around.
You are better
One of the most important reasons why we should rethink why we react is because when we do, we abandon rules, precepts, and values we have for ourselves to meet our offender at theirs.
Each and every one of us should be in the business of character building. Every day, with a practice that best suite us, we should honing ourselves to be the most refined individual we can be. But when we respond to someone out of anger, shame or hurt, we jeopardize that progress.
Rethink why to respond not because you can’t or because you don’t have a clap-back good enough, but because you’re working on self — because you’re simply just better.
You don’t have time
Hurt people hurt people; meaning, when we experience someone lashing out at us, nine times out of ten it’s not even because of us, it’s them — it’s internal.
When we respond to these types of individuals it’s not the least bit constructive. It doesn’t validate who we are, it doesn’t make them respect us anymore and it ends up ultimately not being worth it. Not to mention, we simply don’t have the time.
We should be so focused on where we’re going and inthralled in our hustle that distractions like the people getting under our skin or any outside frustration don’t detour us.
The focus we have on our dreams and goals should never change or be compromised in any way; which is what we do every time we react and emit energy to something that ultimately isn’t of our interest.
Let the work do the talking
Probably the most important reason why we should react less and be conservatives of our energies is that the work we do can and will go farther than our words will.
When you think about it, when we engage in a verbal back and forth or end up investing our emotions in a reactionary fashion, we never really end up saying the best thing we can think of.
We get so emotional and caught up in giving a quick retort that our best stuff comes afterward anyway. When we elect not to respond, we not only preserve and protect our energy but we make way for the best comeback of all-time: success.
As tempting as clapping back maybe and as satisfying as reacting to situations that anger us may feel, it’s best when we choose not to.
Rethink before you react — save your energy, don’t give a scrub the time of day and just double down on what you know is right — and watch how things work out in the long-run