We all know that person who likes to gossip or say things behind our backs. And then the people who are catty enough to express their displeasure right to your face. Nothing you do or say is ever good enough to please this type of person. You constantly feel like you don't measure up and it erodes your self-confidence.
So, how do you learn to go about avoiding the gossip, and taking back control of your own self-esteem?
It is critical to be able to do this in life so that you aren't constantly caught up in what other people think about you. Learning to like yourself the way you are is the first step. If you are consistently showing up as your authentic self, this is much easier to do.
How to be your authentic self
In order to live life as your authentic self, you need to have a strong self-image, and do the things in life that bring you joy. The more time you spend doing things that make you happier, the more confident you will be in yourself.
Stop trying to change to make people like you.
The people who really like you won't want you to change. Anyone who is asking you to change things about yourself, when you are living in a way that is true to your heart, doesn't belong in your thought process.
It can be difficult learning not to take this kind of negativity to heart, especially if you have grown up being a people-pleaser.
Learning to discard the people pleasing tendencies, and accepting yourself just as you are, can be important first steps to start living more authentically.
When you do things, ask yourself if it brings you happiness. Do you like the way you look, the way you dress, the way you behave towards others? If the answer to these is honestly a yes, then the key is to start living in alignment with these values, and thoughts about yourself.
Here are some tips from Better Up on how to be your authentic self:
Define and embrace your strengths
Explore your values
Acknowledge external vs internal influence
Notice and name your emotion
Build your social support system
Develop the courage to face your fears
Take daily actions towards authenticity
When you are able to define in your mind all the things that you like about yourself, be present in the moment, and live your story according to your values, you will be better able to protect yourself from people-pleasing tendencies, because you will be living in tune with your authentic self. This allows you greater freedom to do the things that you want to do in life.
The more you can live as your authentic self, the more self-confidence you will build in yourself. This helps you be attuned to your own needs, and your own value.
Ignore the haters
Inevitably, there will be people in your life who treat you badly, or talk about you behind your back in life.
However, we don't need to allow ourselves to be controlled by this type of negative people. There are always going to be people who disagree with you, or who try to tear you down.
When you are faced with these people throughout life, staying strong and centered in your values can really help. Practice being mindful, and really keep in mind the way you typically feel good about yourself. Remind yourself why you like all the ways that you think and act towards others. Remind yourself that you are a good person.
The more you can be centered in positive thoughts, the more easily you can allow the hate to roll off you.
It isn't always easy to be sure, and it may help to put some physical or mental distance between yourself and these people.
Mentally prepare for difficult interactions
In order to stay centered in the midst of an interaction with people who bring you down, it is important to prepare for these interactions as much as possible. You can plan out in advance what you will say to them, or you can use the grey rock technique.
According to Medical News Today,
To “grey rock” a person involves making all interactions with them as uninteresting and unrewarding as possible. In general, this means giving short, straightforward answers to questions and hiding emotional reactions to the things a person says or does.
Some people use the grey rock method with those they suspect of having narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). People with NPD may useTrusted Source others as a source of attention, manipulating them to get a specific reaction that bolsters their ego.
Although this technique is especially useful with narcissists, it can be effectively used with any difficult people that may be a part of your life. This way, you can easily shut down any kind of negative remarks from people when they start to say something inappropriate to you.
If you have planned ahead for how you will react in this situation, it will make it easier for you to be able to ignore people treating you badly, and respond as little as possible to them.
It can be useful to enlist help when dealing with difficult people. If you have a friend or coworker who can go with you when you are meeting with someone difficult, they may behave better in this kind of a group setting than they would one on one.
When you are struggling with difficult relationships, it can also be useful to speak with a therapist or life coach to get through all your problems. Having a compassionate ear to help you through your problems can be really helpful. A therapist or coach can help you work on coping skills and talk you through difficult situations.
Since I have worked with both a therapist and a life coach in the past, I would highly recommend either one from personal experience. It can help you learn to de-catastrophize your problems when you are talking to someone who is outside the situation.
It also helps to have someone ask you about your feelings and your responses, and what you could have done differently in a given situation.
Stop blaming yourself
It is also important to stop blaming yourself for "not being good enough" for other people. It is important that you just feel like you are good enough for YOU, and you are the only person that you have to please in life.
It isn't your job to make other people happy.
It is your job to make YOU happy.
It is other people's job to make themselves happy. Not yours. If other people are unhappy with you, you can ask yourself if there is something you could have done differently. However, some people just have an inherently negative outlook on life, and there is literally nothing that you can do to make them happy.
Stop blaming yourself for other people's negative attitudes. There are many situations where this isn't your fault, so there is nothing you can do to fix it. I know a lot of us are fixers, and this can be hard to do. But, letting go is something you have to do for your mental health at times.
When you can clearly see what is your fault, and what isn't, then you will be more able to stand up for yourself, and to request people to treat you the way that you deserve.
When you are trying to protect yourself from negative people, it is more important than ever to set boundaries. This means, you define in your mind the behaviors that you will or will not accept from others. Then, if someone violates your boundary, you let them know what actions that you will take.
For example, if you set a boundary that you are not going to let people yell at you, then you can decide what you will do if someone starts yelling. You can tell them that you are ending the conversation if they will not speak in a civil manner. You can walk away.
You don't have to subject yourself to people yelling at you, insulting you, being passive-aggressive, or gossiping.
If you decide ahead of time what you will do in these situations, such as either gray rocking, or standing up for yourself, then you will be prepared to go through with these actions when a difficult situation comes up.
All of these are ways that you can stand up for yourself, especially with difficult people in your life. This will allow you to have more inner piece of mind, and to create boundaries with people who are hurtful towards you.