Sunday, June 17, 2012

How NOT to win friends and influence people, part 2

I got to thinking about the different behaviors I experience in the space of a day, and about the effects they have on me. I am the recipient of both good and bad behavior. What I know for sure is that bad behavior—mean, sarcastic, insulting, passive-aggressive, psychologically-abusive behavior---has the following effect on me. I seek out specific parts of my brain and heart that will allow me to ignore the person(s) in question. That will allow me to look at them while they are behaving badly and ‘be’ another place in my head and heart—a peaceful, calm, relaxing, spiritual place. One that is far away from the person(s) in question. It works. You just have to know how to go into yourself to find it. And I promise you that it creates exactly the effect you’re hoping for—the person(s) behaving badly get annoyed and go away. It is so important to keep your cool when such person(s) go on the attack. If they cannot reach you, cannot knock you off your center, they go looking for other potential victims to dump on. And that is what they want to do—dump on you, no doubts about that. They are so unhappy inside that they want to share their misery with others. The old saying, ‘misery loves company’, is still alive and well in 2012. It takes many forms, but anyone who has experienced a ‘dumper’ knows exactly what I’m talking about.

But think about what bad behavior creates in a society made up of individuals, some of whom respond to bad behavior like I do. Enough of it, and you end up with people who turn away from leaders, politicians, authority figures—who decide for themselves how they’re going to respond, how they’re going to live each day, what they’re going to let in and what they’re going to shut out. They also decide who they’re going to listen to and who deserves their loyalty.  In other words, they cannot be easily controlled or brainwashed. So in one sense, you could argue that bad behavior creates independent individuals in some cases, at least in the cases of those individuals who have the societal freedom to respond as they wish. I don’t know what it would be like to live in a totalitarian regime, where any untoward response could be met with punishment and/or prison. I can only speculate about what could happen in a free society, like the one I live in. It still surprises me that intelligent people in leadership positions behave badly, that they dump on others (out of insecurity or their own misery?), that they blame others for their shortcomings, and that they cannot offer praise or a gentle spirit instead of criticism and a harassing nature. It’s nice to know that I can remove myself from their misery-loaded situations, instead of responding as they wish, which is to enmesh myself in their soap opera dramas. 

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