It can be hard not to absorb other people’s frustrations and, ultimately, feel like you are sinking under the weight of it. People can struggle with uncomfortable feelings and very convincingly try to hand it to you.
When you know who you are and what you stand for – you can be solid in that self-knowledge – unapologetically and kindly direct.
It’s not about not saying you are sorry all the time (yikes, please don’t). Apologize when warranted. When appropriate, it’s a sign of strength not weakness.
Sometimes people try to offload their bad feelings and you just happen to be in the path. Sidestep it.
It’s about – saying to yourself first – this does or doesn’t work for who I am and who I strive to be. It’s about vowing to be kind standing strong in who you are because you are proud to be this person.
Here’s a quote I shared with my teenage daughter years ago as she was learning to handle words of others who sometimes don’t realize their blame shifting habit, expecting her to have flimsy boundaries and absorb verbal poison, because of their own flimsy boundaries…
An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.
However, don’t go down with another’s ship. Stay upright enough you can give them a hand, but not so much of you – you’ll get pulled into the undertow yourself. Then there are two of you down.
Pay attention to who they show you they are which they demonstrate by what they say and do. They ought to be doing the same with you – being present.