Let's be honest, when someone is mean rude or hurtful to you, likely the last thing on your mind is how to be kind. Running into nasty people is an uncomfortable and unpleasant part of life, which most of us would rather avoid.
However, in some cases, there is no other alternative but to face them. No matter how tempting it might seem to react in a similarly negative way, there is no greater satisfaction than being the better person. Nor a healthier, more balanced reaction.
You cannot control the actions of others, but you are in full control of your own.
Mean people come in several different degrees, ranging from acting semi-cranky and passive aggressive to being downright cruel and narcissistic. They can ruin your entire day. Depending on the situation, sometimes they even interfere with your ability to function.
Unfortunately, we have all experienced this in one way or another.
There are many situations in which you may need to know how to be kind and have practical ways to address a particular situation without causing more conflict. In fact, research also shows that being helpful to others can actually make us genuinely happy in a number of different ways.
How to Be Kind to Mean People
First, keep in mind that a person may not always acknowledge how terrible they are being. In most cases, this is because they are fighting a battle from deep within themselves. Most of the intentions behind our actions are hidden.
If a person is feeling depressed or angry, usually the resulting behavior distorts their true feelings.
We all fight our individual battles.
This internal struggle often develops in the subconscious from the build-up of worries or fears regarding situations you can't control. Not only that, but the person themselves might not even know why they are acting the way they are.
Let us discuss and learn how to be kind in a variety of nice ways to deal with mean people. Kindness is a much healthier approach, will go a much longer way and can lessen or diffuse the friction.
Even if it doesn't for them, it will benefit you. Now, to start:
Engage your brain...
Always think before speaking. Inhaling and exhaling methodically is essential when dealing with mean people. Before ever making a response to an unpleasant interaction, you should think carefully about the situation.
Take a few deep breaths and calm down before you react. You will notice that the slower and deeper you breathe, the calmer your mind and body will become.
Mean people tend to trigger our fight or flight response making it too easy for us to be mean back. This could make you say something you might come to regret later when still in the heat of the moment.
It's not only just a good idea on how to be kind, but it's also healthy for your heart. In times of extreme psychological provocation, your heart rate will rise to a heightened level of degree. And in some of the more severe cases, it can even become damaging.
So, instead of immediately lashing out, take the time to use kindness to strengthen yourself emotionally and your heart physically.
Now, about how being angry affects you
No one thinks clearly when they are angry, and you are no exception to that fact.
It's good to manage your own emotions and deal with how someone made you feel before you confront them. You don’t want to call people out on their personal agendas or faults. Remember that you are not dealing with a happy, stable person.
No one is perfect, so you are going to need to learn how to be kind. Once you do, focus on what you know about that -- instead of the actions of the other person -- in order to diffuse things on your end. In that way, you might avoid a nasty confrontation.
There are more effective ways to disagree other than attacking the person who belittled you or hurt your feelings. When the time comes to respond, think before you speak. Choose your words wisely and try to remain calm.
No matter how hurt you may feel, it's more important to avoid allowing your emotions to take over.
Take control of the situation and show them how to be kind by reacting in a calm and mature manner. By doing so, you can prevent it from becoming a bigger deal than it needs to be.
The importance of staying patient
It can be impossible to resolve the situation right away.
We have trained ourselves to expect instant results, but you should never expect immediate gratification when dealing with other people. Sometimes, in our haste to react to a confrontation, we may end up making matters far worse.
Knowing how to be kind requires a lot of time and demands an even more significant amount of patience.
Being patient will help you become calmer, and more understanding over any situation, especially when dealing with a difficult person. Using patience also includes another great health benefit when it comes to kindness.
Most confrontations with mean or difficult people will result in a lot of tension. This tension will more often than not lead to some form of high anxiety and stress.
Taking the friendly approach to things can ease all sorts of personal stress you might feel over the situation. Fact is that being kind to others on a daily basis is the easiest, natural way to lessen your anxiety.
The first key
Everyone is emotional, and we are fueled by it. And although it might sound hard, one of the kindest things you can do is to listen and learn.
Compassion, looking at another person and assuming that instead of having bad motives, or are simply a nasty person, they're having a bad day is a much overlooked emotional skill.
People who regularly have outbursts of anger are likely also bottling up what's really upsetting them. Consider the entire situation and realize you can't know what they are struggling with. Then, remember that, like you, they are only human.
Instead of assuming the reason someone is mean and seeing them as thoughtless, aggressive or cruel, consider the alternative. Suspend your initial judgment to the possibility that they could be having a bad day or going through some personal issues.
Everyone fights several internal struggles in their life, and such a thing can cause them to act out of character. It could be the result of a number of different deciding factors based off of their lifestyle or situation. Many of which you might be unaware of.
So have compassion and take consideration that the person might just be in a mindset of self-defense. Try to help in any way that you can, even if it's just lending an ear.
This will not only help them but will help you as well. Have you ever noticed that after doing something nice for someone, you usually feel better too? It's not just a random feeling. The pleasure center of your brain causes this feeling that you get.
Doing something nice, such as attempting to help another person boosts your serotonin levels and makes you also feel good.
It's time to put in the work
It's good to keep an open mind when people disagree with you. Show them that you will listen to what they have to say. No matter whether or not you agree with them, it's essential to understand them and know how they feel.
Everyone wants to be taken seriously.
People often react out of frustration because they see it as the only way that their opinions can be heard. You can show that you really do care about what is making the person so unpleasant if you just listen.
Be sure to maintain eye contact and let them know you are paying attention to what they have to say. An excellent way to do this is by nodding or saying short assuring words without interrupting them.
Understanding and listening don't mean that you have to agree with them. It shows that you are being considerate of their feelings and taking everything in.
Showing empathy and being sensitive to the person's feelings can give you an advantage.
It can also sometimes create a great opportunity to relate and help them overcome and deal with their problems. Respect their privacy and make sure not to go overboard in your effort to cheer the person up. You don't want to create even more conflict or suspicion by being overly invasive or demanding.
Recognize your limitations
Let's face it. Some people do not want your help. Even if it "kills" you to have to do it, sometimes it's best to give them personal space.
Certain personality types do not want your compassion or your attempts to resolve. In some cases, trying to help them can create an even more problematic issue and make them more angry with you. Leave them alone and take this time to reflect on the situation yourself.
And please, even though it might be difficult, do your best to avoid dwelling on it. Both you and the other person need this personal time to calm down and think more clearly. Even if you are calm and kind, you can still be deeply affected by another person's actions and words.
Rest your mind or have fun doing something else that you enjoy.
Depending on how close you are to the person, they will come back around in time when they are ready. In many less severe of cases, this time away from one another can resolve the issue.
The Painful Truth, and the Greatest Hope
Unfortunately dealing with mean or cruel people is a part of our everyday society. And in many situations, it cannot be avoided. That's just the truth.
We can also feel resentful of the people who we choose kindness with, regardless of their choice not to do the same.
It can feel like walking on eggshells, modifying our behavior and interactions constantly, trying to be considerate of the other person's feelings. When, frequently, you just want to tell them off. That is a poisoned cup -- you hurt yourself, and your own happiness more than you hurt theirs.
Knowing how to be kind in such a situation can help you and the aggressor to come to reasonable terms.
It's often good to set some boundaries and attempt to diffuse the situation in the best possible way. You never have to deal with an abusive person, call for help if you can't walk away, then tell them kindly but firmly that you are not going to continue engaging them.
But at the end of the day, do not forget to consider yourself and your own well-being. You may have a kind soul, but when dealing with a mean or bullying person, you must remember to stay true to yourself.
Sometimes no matter how nice you are, you have to accept that there is nothing you can do. Knowing how to be kind is important but what's even more essential is knowing when it's time to move on. Although it can be extremely hard, do not be afraid to let go when you have to.
Kindness, after all, is not weakness. It takes a lot more strength to smile and listen than it does to make snide comments or say cruel things. So, cut ties with the people who don't enrich your soul, and you'll be happier for it.
Before you leave, have a look at the video above to learn more about the science of kindness, then leave us your comments and favorite methods in the comments!