But that is just the way I am.

Have you worked with someone who is just mean? You try everything to get along, but nothing seems to work. Perhaps it’s your partner who flies off the handle whenever large amounts of money needs to be spent on the house. Maybe it is your friend that gets defensive every time you two talk about their road rage. So you confront them and their response is…”That’s just who I am. You need to accept me as I am.”

I know I have been in those kind of situations before. My question is why do I need to accept the fact that you are mean? Why I do I need to let you treat me poorly? Why can’t we have a conversation about tough topics?

I strongly believe I and everyone else deserves to be treated with respect. I also firmly believe that when people say things like “That is just who I am.” that they are making up excuses to allow themselves to behave poorly. Everyone has a choice about how they act. No one’s behavior is completely out of their control. I can choose to continue to act poorly towards others and make excuses or I can begin to make choices that bring me closer to being kind and considerate. Actually, it really only takes a moment to make this kind of choice. When we react, we end up doing the same old thing. It’s a knee jerk reaction. But when we respond we allow ourselves an extra moment to consider the ramifications of our actions or words. That extra moment is enough time to allow us to respond compassionately, considerably, and in a way to is thoughtful.

So before you react next time in a way you always do, stop for a moment and take a deep breath and think…I have a choice here…then choose to respond kindly.

Until next time….

Change. Discover. Transform.

Carla Carter, Ed.D., LCPC, CMPC, EMDR Certified

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