How to be kind to unkind people? (Why are they unkind?)

How to be kind to unkind people? (Why are they unkind?)

 

The world can be a cruel place sometimes. I guess this is why so many of us use coping mechanisms to deal with the challenges we are faced with in life.

I never understood why some people display horrible behaviour towards others, sometimes without a valid reason. Even if there is a valid reason to be nasty to someone, always choose kindness, there’s no need to exercise that evil streak.

You will never know what is going through a person’s mind that causes them to do the things they do.

Everyone is fighting a battle that we might not know about.

When someone treats you poorly, ask yourself why they are acting in that way.

Most of the time, how people act has nothing to do us. Usually, people are dealing with their own life challenges.

Why do people choose to be unkind?

There is no excuse for shitty behaviour. Just because someone is going through something in their lives, it does not excuse their actions.

But, everyone is built different, two people who are experiencing the same situation may react differently. Reactions are usually based on the level of experience and maturity each individual has. This determines if and how they project their issues onto others.

Their own experiences

Everyone is going through their own challenges in life. The way a person treats you says more about them than it does about you. Try not to take things personally. With the recent global lockdown, people are finding themselves in the worst situations they’ve ever been in before.

This does not excuse unkind behaviour, but frustrations and emotions could determine the way a person treats you.

I am a loner by nature, but recently, this never-ending Covid nightmare has been testing me on so many levels. I have to keep reminding myself that everyone is going through their own challenges too.

People just want to be heard and understood, so I don’t take anything personally.

Selfishness

Some people are just selfish. They will do anything to get what they want in life, regardless of how others are impacted by their words or actions.

I try to engage with people from a level of empathy, but certain people are just self-centred. Selfishness and greed can lead people down a path of unkindness very fast.

Last year I experienced this and couldn’t believe how evil people can be when they have a hidden agenda.

person with mask

A lady I knew (let’s call her Jane) was so upset because another person (let’s call her Eva) was going to chemotherapy as part of her cancer treatment. Jane was extremely annoyed with Eva because Eva couldn’t do the things she did before (with good reason) which benefited Jane because she was on treatment.

The sad reality is that Eva eventually passed away and even until today, Jane’s attitude towards others has not changed. She doesn’t care about others, as long as she reaps whatever benefits she can, even if it means that lives are lost along the way.

Not knowing better

Not all people are vindictive or intentionally selfish. Some people don’t have the life experience to know how to handle a situation. So what may seem unkind might just be a person’s way of handling a situation.

Many times, a person has good intentions but a poor choice of words and actions which may come across as cold. This is one of the reasons why we need to know how to deal with unkind people. Sometimes the person doesn’t even know that he/ she is being unkind.

Apathy

Apathy is very similar to selfishness. Some people just don’t care. The sooner you realise that a person doesn’t care, the better it will be for you.

Lady with hands forward

There is no point in trying to make a person care about you if they don’t. It will never happen. People who don’t care might pretend that they do, but actions always reveal the true intentions of a person.

Not everyone is emotionally intelligent. I know many well-educated, academic people who have low emotional intelligence that leads to their poor behaviour towards others.

And yet again, this is still not an excuse for shitty behaviour.

How to deal with unkind people?

It can be very frustrating when a person is being horrible to you and you are expected to be nice to them.

What about treating them in the same way that they treat you? Why can’t we just give their own treatment back to them?

I used to treat others the way they treated me but then I realised than I am better than this.

My actions should not be based on someone else’s actions towards me. I became more aware of my behaviour, responses, actions and reactions. I learnt how to control myself regardless of how others act.

Empathise and understand

Remember earlier when I said that we should always ask ourselves why people do the things they do? There is always a reason behind a person’s actions…always!

Instead of getting upset, try to respond to unkind behaviour with empathy and understanding. Put yourself in the other person’s position. They could be going through major life events and not sharing this with anyone.

Not everyone knows how to deal with their emotions. Some people act out in ways that are toxic to themselves and others.

By being empathetic, you might be able to understand the other person better. Also, you should not accept any form of abuse just because the other person is venting and you happened to be the target.

Don’t take it personally

If you think about your own life and emotions, you will know that when you are excited about something, you will usually pass this positive energy to others you interact with. Now think about when you are sad, you might tell someone about how you feel and the sad energy might also make the other person sad.

The same goes for any other emotion. When the other person is feeling negative, they may take their negative feelings out on you. This does not have anything to do with you, that negative behaviour is about them.

One of the hardest lessons I had to teach myself was not to not take things personally when I was being lied to. At first, I questioned why someone would lie to me when I would never do the same to them. But I now understand that people can be cowards and it had nothing to do with me at all.

Offer help

People may need help instead of judgment. People might be embarrassed to ask for help, especially if they feel like they’ve failed.

Man helping a lady

If a person is attacking you verbally, they might be jealous or envious because you are in a better position than them. Instead of fighting back, ask them how you can help them. Or do something nice for them without them having to ask.

A small act of kindness can mean the world to someone who is struggling but is too proud to admit their failure.

Be the better person

Over the years I learnt that just because someone treats you poorly, it doesn’t mean that you have to treat them in the same way.

Continue to be kind to them. You don’t have to go out of your way to do things for them. But you also don’t have to react to their actions or words.

Don’t give them the power to upset you or change the way you behave. Learn how to control and master your emotions. When you understand that you are the only person who should have complete power over your thoughts and actions, your entire life will begin to change.

I’ve forgiven people who are not sorry, I’m still kind to those who did the worst to me and I know that my actions are not a reflection of who those people are. My actions are who I am.

I am the only person who has power over my life and I refuse to hand my power to anyone.

Limit contact

If a person shows you who they are, believe them. If someone keeps treating you poorly, then distance yourself for your own well-being.

If you tried everything to be kind to those who are unkind to you and they continue being unkind, then you may want to reconsider their presence in your life.

Respect yourself enough to know when its time to stop tolerating poor behaviour and disrespect. Everyone has a limit, and if you’ve tried to be understanding, empathetic and helpful but the person continues to take advantage of your kindness, then walk away.

There is a difference between being kind and being a doormat to unkind people. Don’t allow anyone to mistreat you because there are so many people out there who will appreciate you for the person that you are.

Support during hard times

Support during hard times

Updated June 2020

Whenever you face a challenge in life, people always tell you to be strong, as if being strong is an option. For some of us, being strong is the only choice we have. But it’s also okay to not be strong, you don’t have to be positive all the time or act like everything is okay when it’s not.

If we don’t feel our feelings, they eventually build up and lead to an emotional breakdown when you least expect it.

We all react to the same situation differently

When I found out about my pre-cancer diagnosis, my first instinct was to keep it a secret. I was afraid of the stigma attached to cancer or pre-cancer.

The truth is when we think about anyone dealing with cancer, we are conditioned to think about a person who is ‘dying’ or ‘helpless’ and I didn’t want to be this person.

I didn’t want to be placed in a box. I didn’t want sympathy from anyone, I wanted to fight my battles on my own, no matter how bad it got. I felt like the best way to do this was on my own.

The fewer opinions, theories, and stories I heard from everyone else would give me more time to focus on creating solutions to my problem.

But it affects them too

Nobody in my immediate family was affected by any type of cancer, so when I told my closest family, some did not know how to handle the news. It was a difficult time for everyone.

The illness does not just affect the patient but also affects the people around them.

It is so important for loved ones to seek help from a support group if they are not coping. Watching a loved one deteriorate and not being able to do anything about it must be torture.

It was worse for my family because we live in different parts of the country. I didn’t want them to visit or take care of me, I was being my usual, stubborn self.

I did AND didn’t have a support structure

My family was extremely supportive. Even though there were times when they were not able to put their feelings into words, I understood more than anything, they wanted me to get better.

Some of my friends were also my pillars of strength. But I still decided to go through this situation on my own. I refused visits from family and sometimes distanced myself from friends just so that I could re-gather myself.

At the same time, I also didn’t have support from many people whom I thought I was close to. It’s during times like these, that you get to see people for who they really are.

I know that I am not entitled to anything, but the people I am speaking about, are people that I often visited, celebrating good times together and was always in contact with. Then suddenly, when I decided to share my news, some of these people vanished off the face of the Earth.

Maybe they thought I was contagious or dying…or maybe they were just not emotionally strong enough to handle my truth.

Some people used my situation as a time to reflect

I told less than a handful of people at the time. But, the most common reaction I got when I told some people about my health situation, was that they also needed to go for a check-up and I usually never heard from these people again.

I understand that the news is shocking, but a little empathy and support is always appreciated. In no way am I saying that life is all about me, but instead of offering support, some just went on about how they are having certain health problems and need to go for check-ups.

The conversations always became about them instead of what I was actually trying to say about my health.

This is also another reason why I decided to fight everything on my own because we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves.

Since updating this post, I now understand that people were not being self-centered, they were scared.

They didn’t expect me to get sick, and if I was fine on one day and suddenly faced with health issues the next day, then they were scared that the same thing could happen to them.

It was an emotional and physical rollercoaster ride

We all have good days and bad days. I was having more bad days than good days. Every morning I would affirm to myself that ‘today is going to be a great day’ but it was difficult because my body was giving up yet my mind was fighting to bring me back to space of normality.

I remember waking up one day and falling to the floor – my legs refused to work, post-operation. It was scary because doctors don’t inform patients about the side effects after surgery.

The fatigue was awful, some days I would lay on the floor because I had no energy to wake up. The physical challenges turned into frustration which was depressing.

I just wanted to do things for myself

Depression started creeping in because I was not physically able to do simple things such as grocery shopping or driving. I had no energy but every day I would wake up and my mind would fight my body so that I could get healthy again.

Friends would reach out and tell me to let them know if I needed anything. But in all honesty, because I’ve always done everything for myself, I didn’t want to place my burdens on anybody else. The gesture is still appreciated.

My limited physical abilities and self-isolation forced me to reflect

The lesson I learned is that if people REALLY WANT to help you or visit, they will be there. They will not ask you; they will tell you that they are coming over but will also make sure that you are up for a visit.

I’ve learned not to take anything personally; people were not intentionally being mean to me. They were just shocked by my unexpected news and used my situation to reflect on their lives.

Does it ever end?

Getting better was not the end of my struggle, it took me months to regain strength and appetite, I am still working on regaining all the weight I lost but I am happy I changed my entire lifestyle because I feel better.

Since I initially wrote this post, I had a clean bill of health and a few months after posting this, those stupid cells were back, but the reports are conflicting. I think going through this experience is something that you think you will handle better the second time around, but you don’t.

All the anxiety and negative thoughts are tucked away in the back of your mind, and when it is not dealt with, all those initial feelings from the original diagnosis come flooding back.

But I am still sticking to my healthy eating habits and other changes I’ve made in my life. My lifestyle changes were extreme, but I feel much better on most days.

Below are some of the changes I made and if you or a loved one is facing similar challenges, try to make small lifestyle changes. You will feel a difference.

The things I did to feel healthy again are:

  • Regular exercise
  • Cut out gluten
  • Changed to vegan
  • Cut out junk food
  • Wake up every morning with affirmations of gratitude
  • Meditate before going to bed
  • More traveling to new places

I believe that everything happens for a reason and I know that I needed to go through this life-changing experience in order to live a more fulfilled life and value every day more.

Although I did not welcome a life-threatening illness into my life, I am grateful for all the lessons it taught me.

Why I stopped my blog – this is MY TRUTH

Why I stopped my blog – this is MY TRUTH

Updated June 2020

Life is so uncertain, when I first thought about making my life public, I thought it was the scariest thing I would ever do. But…this blog post will undoubtedly be the hardest one I will ever write and I am sure that those who know me will also be a bit surprised. I’ve been procrastinating but here is the highlight for me in 2019.

Things do not always work out the way we expect it to, and that’s the beauty of life. So here goes…

 

My health issues

I’ve always had a poor immune system so when I was admitted to hospital numerous times this year, I didn’t think too much about it. I’ve always suffered with my stomach and it is something that I am still learning to live with.

But what came as shock to me happened on my mother’s birthday. 2 July 2019 – a day I will never forget. I went to the doctor’s room to get my results back from various tests done, and what was in those results was something that never crossed my mind – even for a second.

 

I walked to my car and burst into tears

I just sat there as the doctor read my results to me, obviously the doctor has been through this numerous times before so I didn’t expect any empathy. At that moment I guess reality didn’t hit me and I wasn’t really processing what I just heard – but this is my way of dealing with serious news…I usually freeze on the inside and show no signs of emotion on the outside.

I walked to my car and burst into tears; it took at least 20 minutes for me to realize what just happened in those rooms. I was alone and drove to the hospital by myself, I was extremely ill to the point where, during some nights, I knew I would not wake up in the morning. Yet, every morning, I managed to open my eyes to see another day.

 

I couldn’t believe what I heard

I was on the doorstep of cancer. Did the doctor just say cancer? I’ve always had stomach issues but this was on another level. Well actually, the doctor said it was high-grade squamous cells that were spreading fast. So basically, precancer is the early stages of cancer that is not invasive. In other words – it is cancer cells that are confined to one area of the body and have not spread beyond a certain area yet.

I needed a second opinion so I took time off work and managed to find another doctor the next day who confirmed the diagnosis – I had precancer of the cervix. Many people will shy away from a topic like this due to their own reasons but actually, I’ve realized that this dreadful disease affects so many women.  Unfortunately, so many women find out when it’s too late and there is nothing more medical treatment can do.

 

I am blessed

In my case, I am so blessed and grateful that I found out what was wrong with me so early on. On the same day that I got a second opinion, I had biopsies done and the doctor told me that if I don’t have an operation within the next three months, the bad cells will spread.

Earlier this year I wrote about a close friend of mine who died from this horrible disease. I later deleted that post because as I am updating my posts, I couldn’t bring myself to relive her passing away all over again.

 

My friends and family are angels on Earth

The day that I got my results, my friends visited me at my house and were so supportive, I guess sometimes you do need people who love you around.

My friends, sisters and mother were extremely supportive and kept in touch with me every single day, even on days when I unintentionally took my frustrations out on them. The rest of my family and friends will probably only find out about my illness through this blog post.

 

Everything happened so fast

A few days later I was booked in for an operation to have the high-grade cells removed. Everything happened so fast, I went from having stomach issues to the chance of having high-grade cells spreading in my body.

 

The good news

The best news came to me six weeks later when I went in for a follow-up. The doctor told me that they had to burn and cut off more than they initially anticipated because the cells were multiplying rapidly.

So, for now, I am healthy again and living each day to the fullest. But this is not the end, I now need to manage my health and have regular check-ups done to make sure everything is still good.

I will be posting more on my story which I believe will help people. I was so ignorant when it came to cancer and nobody thinks that it will happen to them.

The strange thing is that you look perfectly fine on the outside but your body is actually attacking itself on the inside. As much as this is a scary situation, it was better that I became aware of the facts and handled the situation while I still had control.

 

But I don’t look sick

If you look at my pictures (on my homepage and about page), you will not think that I had to battle a horrible illness.

I don’t look like a person with medical issues. If anything, people think I pay lots of attention to my health and work out.

Yes, I do exercise and eat healthily. This is my way of fighting my immune system every single day. People who aren’t aware of my medical challenges ridicule me for being a vegan or think I’m shallow for wanting to take care of my body.

 

The things we take for granted

People don’t understand that being able to eat whatever you want or physically do whatever you want to is a blessing.

Lots of people take their abilities for granted and throw insults at others that cannot do what others can, due to reasons such as mine, which is medical.

I don’t get offended though, I smile and just tell people that I prefer not to eat or do certain things. Not everyone deserves an explanation from you. Not everyone deserves to hear your story.

But if you are still reading this and made it this far…

I am hoping that by sharing my story, I will help other people realize just how important check-ups are, even if you look and feel completely healthy.

Don’t take your health or life for granted. Maybe you can handle everything life throws at you. I handled my situation the best I knew how – by being determined and strong.

 

The people that love you

When you are faced with health challenges, don’t forget that those who love you also suffer, they might even suffer (emotionally) more than you. You will be going through physical and emotional pain. But those that love you, are watching you deteriorate right in front of them and there’s nothing they can do to make you better.

I understand that if you are going through a life-threatening illness, it is challenging because you are trying to overcome physical, mental, emotional and financial challenges.

But don’t forget about those that are supporting you. Try not to take your frustrations out on them. They mean well, even if they don’t know how to show it.

Remember that no fancy car, big house, attractive partner or high-paying job can replace your health, life or those that you love, or love you.

So be mindful of those that love you, because in times like these, you will realize that all you have, are those that love you and care about you.

*This story is based on my personal experience and is not intended as medical advice