How to avoid negative feelings? It’s an often asked question and worth exploring in a little bit more detail. Some people look for put-downs in everything that is said to them.  They always expect the worst.  They give comments a meaning that was probably never intended.

The fact is that words in themselves can’t hurt, only the way we choose to interpret them.

Even with the most positive of intentions, people who misinterpret communication burn bridges, offend superiors and make enemies. This is because they are hyper vigilant and on the lookout for slights and insults in every word because they feel insecure about themselves.

Sensitive people often feel injustice that the world is out to get them, that they’re the ones who get all the bad luck, while others seem to fly through life. This is a blinkered outlook, everyone meets trials and obstacles, the difference is how people view challenges and the strategies they employ to deal with them.

There is no justice in the world, that can’t be denied, but there is still freedom to make choices and work at being as happy as possible.

We can’t anticipate what other people are going to say, sometimes a compliment comes out awkwardly or you come across those who always have something negative to say. The key is to look at the best and worst interpretation and ideally take the best and move on. If you don’t agree then repeat “it would be better if he/she/they….but they have the right to be as they are”. Keep repeating this line until it becomes habit, it will spare you a lot of negative feelings and avoid the pitfalls of over-reaction which serve only to stir up negative feelings and spoil YOUR joy.

We have no right to apply should or must to other people’s words or behaviours. What’s right for one is not right for another, there is no one size fits all approach to life. Holding firmly to your principles, customs and habits are worthwhile if they make you happy, but imposing your beliefs on others gives rise to a host of negative emotions, resentment and hostility topping the list.

If you ever want to control your emotions then accept other people’s choices as it’s they who live with the consequences of their words and behaviours. Self-awareness is the first step towards personal freedom, then you have nothing to lose in attempting to change. Learning to live with self-compassion and acceptance will make you more comfortable in your own skin and able to pay less attention to others comments.

According to psychological research up to 92% of the worries people have are unnecessary. 40% are about things that will never materialise, 30% have already happened and 22% can’t be avoided. Therefore, in 92% of cases we worry for nothing, and make them worse by exaggerating the situations in our mind, making mountains out of molehills.

The internationally renowned psychologist Denis Waitley stated “One of the best ways of adapting to life’s difficulties is simply to accept them as normal. From the moment we begin to see them as occasions for positive change, adversity and misfortune begin to make us proof against the negative effects of stress.”

You are in charge of your life, you are the only person responsible for your success and happiness. Don’t let your pre-conceptions of the world ruin your happiness or make you behave in a way that makes you suffer.

Blog Post by Claire Jackson