When Other People Stress Us Out

Sarah Dorweiler @ Unsplash

How much of the stress you have in your life comes from your own attitude? Do you see yourself as a victim of some circumstances and resent others around you, colleagues, family, or friends to be the causes?

Some of us tend to invest a lot of energy into looking outside of us to find causes why we are where we are or why some misfortune happened to us. We go around complaining to whomever wants to listen, often blaming others for what they did to us or how they behave towards us (and while we are at it, we rarely make any distinction between their personalities and their actions, categorizing them immediately as bad people). Some of us also feel “special” as we go through all these hard times that make us tougher or cooler as we need to rise through thorns to success, while lives of others are then by definition easier or they are, as we think, enjoying strokes of luck (which, of course, never happens to us).

This “victimization” of ourselves in our own perception can be a rather large part of an underlying cause of a chronic stress that can lead to burnout.

Even though someone might in fact do something towards us that was unfair, we still choose how we will perceive what that event means to us, and how we will respond to it. In other words, we can’t control behaviors of others and if they do something or not, but we can surely choose the way in which we see those events. Are we going to see ourselves as helpless victims, or we are going to take responsibility for whatever we think, feel and do at that moment and make it different?

You have a manipulative or bully boss or a colleague? You can’t change them (and mind you, it would be a rather boring world if people would change at our will) but you can choose how to respond to their behavior (on the outside) and what to make of it (on the inside: what to think and feel instead of asking “why this always happens to me” or some similar victimization sentence), and not let it drag you to the bottom. It is likely that, unless you draw some boundaries and refuse to make yourself a victim, even after you e.g. change jobs, the attachment (wound) of the experience will linger in your space for a long time (you can notice this by observing bitterness in your feelings or the way you speak about the experience).

Think about it. Do you find yourself in the victim space in some areas of life? Is there a pattern? What is it that you can do to change perception from one of the victim to one of the empowerment, and improve your life?

If you need tools and a support in this process, reach out, I am here for you.