Wednesday, November 15, 2017

When It Really Is About You

(This blog was originally posted on October 19, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

When we get in a bad mood, for whatever reason, it is “okay” to trudge around the house or office scowling, grumbling or whatever because, well, it just is, right? Something happened earlier in the day or afternoon that set us off; it’s got nothing to do with you, so stop taking everything so personally! We think or say: Everything will be fine in a little while or tomorrow or next week…. You shouldn’t be so sensitive!

Of course, when the bad mood or unnecessary gruffness isn’t our own, it can be very difficult if not impossible to extend the same amount of patience, tolerance or even indifference to another person. More often than not, the subconscious mind goes right to: What did I do? Don’t snap at me! Just chill out, won’t you! It truly is like there are different rules for different players in the same game.

Any time we find ourselves internalizing another person’s bad mood or caustic comment as a personal affront, this is a good time to do a reality check about the situation. Ask yourself whether you actually or accidentally did or said something that might have caused offense. If the answer to this question is “no,” consider the likelihood that the other person is not intentionally, specifically striking out at you. Low self-esteem is often correlated with negative self-talk (“chatter”), whereby it is easy to wear a mantle of guilt about or misplaced sense of responsibility for causing any other negativity in the environment. Imagine going into that part of your subconscious mind or even body where your self-esteem resides and turn the dial up until you no longer notice or perceive the conflict around you. How does that feel in your mind and body? What it does it look like to be (more) indifferent to the other person’s bad mood or problem?

Also remember that being hungry (low blood-sugar level) can affect how we perceive and react to our environment. In this case, a colleague’s sarcastic comment or ribald joke that normally would not irritate you could easily trigger a chain reaction of hurt feelings, hostility and a barrage of snide remarks in response. On the other hand, you might even laugh at that same comment if you hear it after you eat lunch that contains some form of protein (meat or plant-based).

Whenever possible, practice an attitude of empathy and imagine that possibility that your colleague/boss/relative/friend is having a really hard time at the moment for reasons you may not or even need to know. Consider what, if any, gesture of empathy would ease your emotional burden in a similar situation. Depending upon your relationship with the person, it may be appropriate to ask if everything is okay and offer to help resolve or just talk through whatever is causing the problem. Maybe the best course of action might be to remain silent and let the person work through whatever is going on, alone, until/unless you are asked or invited to help. (Of course, if the individual’s problem or attitude is endangering your or another person’s safety/well-being, take steps to protect yourself and get out of that situation.) 

Keep in mind that most of the time, someone else’s bad mood really isn’t about you. However, the sentiment, “Don’t judge another person until you have walked a mile in his shoes” and an open, empathetic and compassionate attitude toward the other person helps to get through these situations.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit
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