A friend recently asked if I had ever written about how to deal with a**holes. Hey – her words, not mine. In the interest of cleaning up our language here at A Clean Mind, let’s call them AHs. There, that sounds much better. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say, “people who are not always as considerate of others as they could be” or something ridiculous like that. We all know what AH means, and we’ve all experienced them.
So my friend was working a job that has a strong customer service component to it, in the middle of her shift, and she was compelled to ask this question – how do you deal with AHs? What she really said was, “I just had to deal with an AH and I’m annoyed right now.” What I said was that it’s not even personal. It’s just a fact that some people act like AHs. A good way to think of it is that they’re just doing their job. The last thing that I want to do is have my happiness depend on an AH not acting like an AH. That’s outer peace, and we’re always going for inner peace here – that’s a much better plan. If I depend on you for me to be happy, then you have immense power over me. Not a good plan. But at least it’s optional!
So let an AH be an AH. Knowing about Feelings 101 is huge, though. Just Sedona any reaction you have right then and there. You can even be smiling right back at them while they’re in the middle of acting like an AH, and little do they know that you’re actually totally aware of your inner temperature rising. And you’re fine with that because you’re reminding yourself that the anger and irritation rising in you is just a normal feeling under the circumstances, and feelings pass. No big deal. When we don’t do this, it builds up and then we feel terrible after. This is how the AH seems to have power over us. The second you notice your reaction, don’t let it get stuck. Just feel it and let it move on out of your system when it’s ready. This can be quite empowering when you practice and get the hang of it, because that same reaction used to have power. Now you can smile and let it pass. Thus the AH becomes a measuring stick for your growth and progress as you sail the seas towards inner peace. And yes, that was incredibly cheesy, but it just popped in so I rolled with it…
While we’re always concerned with how we see things as opposed to the things themselves, let’s be realistic. If your living situation has a strong AH component built-in, and you can change it, then by all means feel free to change it. Congratulation, you’ve graduated! You may now move on. This might mean changing jobs, changing partners, or changing one or more friends. First we focus on what we can do internally, but then it’s fine to make outer changes. We never want to rely totally on the outer changes, though. First inner, then outer. So if my friend has to change jobs, then she’ll begin that process. But she knows how to handle AHs in the meantime. And maybe it’s just the occasional AH that gets her down and the job is just fine overall. In that case, she will keep the job and just accept that sometimes she might have to deal with an AH or four.
Finally, let me speak to the AH. You are not an AH; rather, you act like an AH a lot. Huge difference. Nobody is a pattern, but we act out patterns so much that we identify with them. We’ll eventually talk more about the essential question of “Who Am I?” here at A Clean Mind, but for now let’s just note that the truth of who you are is in no way limited to a pattern, even if it’s been a lifelong pattern. Any pattern can be busted now. You notice it now, and you stop. Then you go on living and repeat the process. It can take a while, but you can also get results pretty quickly – every situation is different. So the AH will eventually (I hope) get tired of acting that way and treating other people that way. Some part of the AH is aware that s/he acts like this. This is very fixable if there’s a real desire to change. But for the recipient of the AH-ness (like my friend), it’s not always your job to try to change the AH. I’d just focus on learning how to take your power back so you’re not so powerless to them.
And now I will go on about my day, laughing at the fact that I have a blog post called “Dealing with A**holes.” So classy. I love that we can really take the gloves off here at A Clean Mind, though. It lets us get down to business and get some quality work done. Cheers to you and the AHs in your life! And good luck as you reframe the AHs and instead call them MSs – Measuring Sticks. Now they’re your teacher, and they’re much more useful to you.