Until recently, I’ve tolerated meanness. Unkind people. People who put others down.
More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve had people in my life that always seem to put me down.
The thing about these people? These haters? I’ve realized they do the same things over and over again. I’ve learned the warning signs. Red flags. Bad behaviors that haters tend to do, actions that are easy to minimize or excuse.
Haters consistently speak badly about others. They consistently judge, belittle, and put others down. They celebrate pain of people they do not like. A hard lesson that’s taken me years to learn: if they talk badly about others and revel in other’s pain, they’re doing it to you too. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but they will eventually talk badly about you. Guaranteed.
Haters tend to have little respect for your feelings, but demand respect for their feelings. If the hater is upset or having a problem, they expect you to give them your attention and sympathy. Only occasionally will they have time or interest in yours problems.
Haters often look for what others can do for them. If they’re needs aren’t met, they will punish you (with words, actions, etc) for not doing what they want. It’s not a good place to be. I always struggle with this because I feel like I am a bad person for not doing what they want. Here’s the thing about that: people who love you don’t make you feel bad for not doing what they want. They accept and love you for who you are, not who they want you to be.
Haters have a bad temper. Haters often blame their temper on alcohol, or those around them, and they snap quickly and take out their anger on everyone around them.
When you call Haters out for their behavior, they label you “sensitive”. When anyone calls you “sensitive” for expressing your feelings, it is a cowardly way for them to blame others for their bad behavior.
Previously, I was willing to forgive meanness and quick to minimize bad behaviors. I want to see the best in others, and I look for the good and to forget the bad.
But, here’s the thing: whenever I’ve been mistreated by a person and allowed them to stay in my life? They do it again. They mistreat me again. Always. I’ve made this mistake so many times it’s embarrassing. It’s the definition of insanity; doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.
I’m not doing the same thing anymore.
I’m following Nicole Antoinette’s advice to Change Your Story, Change Your Life. My Story was I saw the good in others often at the expense of myself.
A couple of Fridays ago, my friends and I were out and met a guy. This guy? Super cute. Tall. Successful. Friendly. Interesting. Blonde. (Side note: Blonde guys are totally my type, but I’ve yet to had a good experience dating one). All the things I’m looking for. Twenty minutes after we met, he insulted his friend’s girlfriend. The insult was out of nowhere, and really uncalled for. Unsurprisingly, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but proceeded with caution. A few hours and many drinks later he was insulting others again – this time he was insulting my friends.
In the context of the conversation, you could spin his insults as jokes, but in reality, he was unkind. Having difficulty letting go of my old ways, I gave him my number.
The next day when he texted and asked for a date, I decided to Change My Story, Change My Life: I told him no and I told him why.
Crazily enough, it was a great conversation. I told him I enjoyed meeting him, but I didn’t like the way he treated my friends.
He apologized and said he really didn’t mean his insults. He said that he is a really nice guy, but he “has an edge”.
And here’s the kicker, guys. Normally, I would forgive, move on, and cross my fingers it would never happen again.
But it’s time to Change My Story, Change My Life.
I don’t need anyone – man or woman – with “an edge” in my life.
How does this story end? I’ll never see him again.
I can’t help think about what Maya Angelou has famously said,
“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
You know what? I believed him. The first time.