Learning From a Bad Situation

In my last post (Kindness Matters), I described an incident in which a grown man told a little boy to “F— Off” and the importance of not perpetuating that energy by  internalizing and letting it ruin your day.

However, there is another side to situations like these. It’s what we can learn from them. It’s about turning something bad into something good. Sometimes these negative people are not strangers, but may be acquaintances, co-workers, friends, or even family.  Friends and acquaintances can be removed from your life or at least you are able to minimize the interactions. Family is a little more difficult.

I have learned some things about these people who bring such difficulties into our lives.

IMG_14741. They are a mirror of ourselves.  Sometimes, the behavior we most dislike in someone else is also very present in our own personalities. We just don’t see or acknowledge it. It’s called projection.

Wikipedia defines psychological projection as “a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others.[1] For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.”   Click HERE to go to the quote on Wikipedia.

2. They have something to teach us.  There is something about this person, the interaction, or the situation about which we must learn a lesson. It can be a lesson about ourselves, as in the mirror discussion, or it can be a lesson for us about how we handle a particular situation. The situation can be teaching us to be more tolerant or to be more aware of our actions. For each person, this lesson is personal. The more we search for the lesson, the easier it becomes to find a lesson in all our difficult interactions. This doesn’t mean you have to keep this person in your life, but you can find the lesson that was meant for you.

3. We need to establish boundaries. It is important in all relationships to establish boundaries. Love yourself enough to communicate on your own behalf. For example, if you do not like family stopping over without calling first, then it is up to you to communicate that wish. You cannot expect anyone to know the boundaries if you have not communicated them. You may think they are obvious or standard etiquette, but everyone has different views and experiences that shape their beliefs. Check out the article 10 Ways to Build and Preserve Better Boundaries on PsychCentral.com about establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.

I like to believe that there is always an opportunity for good in every bad situation.  You just have to look for it. It can be the difference between crumbling and rising in the face of diversity. It takes practice but it is possible.


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