“Everybody isn’t your friend. Just because they hang around you and laugh with you doesn’t mean they’re for you. Just because they say they’ve got your back, doesn’t mean they won’t stab you in it. People pretend well. Jealousy sometimes doesn’t live far. So know your circle. At the end of the day, real situations expose fake people, so pay attention.”
Trent Shelton (Former NFL Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts)
“Cutting negative people from my life does not mean I hate them, it simply means I respect me.”
Marilyn Monroe (Actress, The Seven Year Itch)
“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the f*ck you were going to do anyway.”
Robert Downey, Jr. (Actor, The Avengers)
The biggest bully at my school was this kid named Doug.
He’s probably in jail now.
Doug was a prototypical schoolyard bully.
He was about two sizes too big for the grade we were in.
Maybe because he was held back a couple of grades.
I’m not sure.
His face was flat like a shovel and his forehead was massive.
His hands looked like baseball mitts.
We’d have to sit across from each other during some of the group exercises in class.
He’d kick my shins really hard under the table with these big black boots he always wore.
But he did it really quickly when the teacher wasn’t looking.
He’d kick the other kids’ shins too.
I never stood up to Doug.
Not so much because he was bigger, but because he was popular.
All the other kids laughed at his jokes and liked him.
He had a bunch of other negative thug friends.
But maybe they were only his friends because he was bigger.
Either way, it made me try to get him to like me too.
He never liked me.
He’d tolerate me if I did what he wanted me to do.
Otherwise, he’d push me around.
I thought he was pure evil.
Then I saw Doug’s dad yelling at Doug at one of our school book fairs.
It was intense.
That’s when I figured out that Doug wasn’t evil, he was just conditioned.
Still, his conditioning was bad.
And he was never going to change if I and everyone else kept letting him push us around.
Doug needed to be stopped.
I stood up to Doug one day and he punched me in the gut while some other kid held my arms.
It hurt but we were just kids, so our punches were kid punches.
Doug was still a jerk but he was less of a jerk to me.
Like most negative people, he liked trouble but I think he liked easy trouble, not difficult trouble.
Why You Need To Stop Giving Your Dictator A Free Pass
Life is full of bullies.
You’re not on the schoolyard anymore but you’re still surrounded by negative people trying to push you around.
Maybe it’s a boss who makes you feel stupid in meetings.
Or someone at home who pushes you down and never lets you celebrate your personal victories.
Either way, you’ve been giving these people a free pass for too long.
Studies published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that engaging with negative people in any way strongly reduces your energy levels and mental resources.
For example, one study shows that engaging with negative people prior to performance tests, rather than ignoring them, decreases test scores.
The longer you let negative people keep being negative, the unhappier and more unsuccessful you will become in life.
There’s no escaping this.
Negative people will infect you as long as you let them remain in your life.
5 Strategies For Standing Up To Your Dictator
There’s a dictator in your life somewhere.
There’s someone in your life dictating your feelings and actions right now.
You rely on this person’s approval in order to feel good about yourself.
You wait for this person to give you permission to be happy.
You act how this person expects you to act.
The problem is you’ve conditioned yourself to accept this person in your life.
You’ve given them a free pass to influence how you feel and how you act on a daily basis.
This stops now.
The only way to break free from the dictators in your life is to first question why they’re in your life to begin with.
Then, question how they make you feel.
How do you behave when you’re around them?
You must identify the problem before you can eliminate it.
Only then will you be in a position to put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life.
Here are 3 strategies for how to stand up for yourself and deal with the bullies in your life…
1. Realize that popularity doesn’t make someone right or worthy.
Social proof isn’t justice.
Just because someone is popular, doesn’t mean they are right.
It doesn’t mean they’re worth the effort either.
There are many people in your life right now who are draining your energy levels.
You are working very hard to keep these people happy, often without knowing it.
You work hard to keep your boss happy so he or she doesn’t fire you.
You work hard to keep your friends and family content so you don’t have to have a difficult conversation.
You compromise on yourself over and over again to avoid uncomfortable conflict.
Why do you keep wasting all of this energy?
Why do you keep trying so hard?
You want to be liked.
Or, you want someone else who is liked to like you.
Deep down you believe that because someone is well-liked, they must be right and they must be worth the effort.
Your colleagues kiss up to your boss, so it must be worth it to kiss up to him or her too.
Everyone in your neighborhood caters to your whiny neighbors, so you cater to them too.
It must be right because everyone is doing it.
They must be right because everyone is trying to make them happy.
The only way to break free from this cycle is to start questioning where you’re putting your energy.
Who do you really care about upsetting?
Should you care as much as you do?
Who do you really work hard to please?
Should you keep working hard to please them?
If you don’t like the answers to these questions, it’s time to change your behavior.
It’s time to limit the amount of emotional and mental energy you give to the dictators in your life.
2. Evaluate how others make you feel AND act.
Most people are obsessed with how they feel.
This person makes me feel bad about myself.
This person makes me feel insecure.
Emotions are fickle and temporary.
Actions, on the other hand, are lasting.
Very few people focus on how others make them act.
Compared to your actions, your feelings are relatively meaningless.
You can feel bad all day every day but if you only take good actions, your life would be better than if you felt good all day every day but only took bad actions.
I know—that just blew your mind.
But it’s true.
Your actions, especially your action-oriented habits, define your life.
Your feelings and emotions are very temporary in comparison.
More importantly, your feelings are tied to your actions.
Positive actions create positive feelings.
Yet, very few people consider how others are making them act.
How are the people in your life influencing your actions right now?
Who is making you a worse version of yourself?
Are you chasing goals you don’t really care about just because some dictator in your life wants you to chase them?
Have you given up on your dreams just because some negative friend told you that your dreams are stupid?
Start paying close attention to how others make you act (or not act), not just how they make you feel.
Some people will make you feel bad about yourself but will simultaneously drive you to make positive changes in your life.
Others will make you feel great about yourself but encourage you to be lazy or play the victim or take other negative actions that will negatively affect your future.
The key is to identify those who make you feel bad AND make you take negative actions that are not in your best interest.
These are the people you want to eliminate.
3. Use strong language to meet others face-to-face.
It’s easy to go through life feeling not good enough.
It’s easy to give into things like impostor syndrome and learned helplessness.
You place yourself beneath other people because, in part, you’ve been conditioned to think that other people are better than you.
You’ve been conditioned to focus on other people’s strengths and to ignore their weaknesses.
You see the skills they have that you don’t have.
At the same time, you’ve been conditioned to fix your weaknesses and forget your strengths.
You don’t see the skills YOU have that others don’t have.
Most of this conditioning is aided by (and triggered by) your own language.
You say “I’m sorry” constantly.
You say “yes” to everyone’s requests.
You say “I didn’t mean to” and “it’s not my fault.”
You constantly compliment other people and say “good job” for everything they do while downplaying everything you do.
“I got lucky.”
“It wasn’t me, it was my team.”
All of this less-than, poor-me, deflective language acts to keep you down in life.
You create a power vacuum through your own words, and bullies and dictators rush in to fill it.
The only way to regain your power in life is to regain control of your language.
Use language that puts you face-to-face with other people, no matter who they are.
Don’t use language that turns you into a fanboy or fangirl, a subordinate, a lackey, or a loser.
By using strong language, you will see yourself as anyone’s equal. Other people will see you as their equal too. Now, combine this with a strong understanding of how other people make you feel AND act. With the right language and the understanding in place, you’ll be able to identify and eliminate the bullies and dictators in your life. Remember, just because someone is popular doesn’t make them right or worthy of your time. Ask yourself the hard questions about who is in your life and stop giving negative people in your life a free pass.
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