How to cope with adversity is a positive way.
Recently I have come across some good advice researching how to deal with someone attacking you personally about who you are and talking wrong about you either to your face or behind your back. While reading some articles from a licensed therapist, it helped me to see some things more clearly.
Dealing with the Anger
Recognize that it is okay to feel the anger; it is healthy to feel the anger. Controlling this powerful emotion is extremely useful to harness the energy and redirect it to something constructive. Many people get stuck in thinking that they cannot feel something perceived to be negative, like the anger emotion, but it is an entirely normal human emotion.
Anger is a normal response to being attacked in any form, whether personally or publicly. Anger is an indication that you care or that something matters to you. When an attack is directly against who you are as a person or on your morals, calling into question your actions, beliefs, values, etc. then it affects you because you care.
We can choose to accept the anger and, more importantly, choose to act appropriately, redirecting the energy to a positive action while preventing ourselves from striking back, which will have negative repercussions.
Personal Attacks Can Cause Shame
The modern attitude from the therapist suggests that all people feel some level of shame when attacked, more specifically, when confronted from a place of contempt or against our morals. When coupled with added personal information, the damage is worse and harder to deal with in general.
Learning to deal with this feeling will help people equip themselves to handle the controversy with grace, especially if the person is in the public eye. Everyone has details about themselves that they do not want to be general knowledge, so best to face the worst-case scenario and think about how you react if the whole world knew the information.
Ask yourself if it’s true; if it is true, then determine how you can live with it, make whatever adjustments required (within your control) to address the issue. If the information is incorrect, then think about your response and how to deliver the message in a calm, controlled manner. Please realize that the feeling doesn’t control you once you face it head-on.
Focus on Your Internal Opinion
It is normal to want others to see you as smart, kind, honest, etc. What is more important is to understand that how someone views themself is what makes them a strong person. This character trait is what will carry people through times of controversy.
When you care about your reputation, you are putting forth the effort to do the things you believe are right and treat others accordingly. Detach your self from the need to convince others and focus on the things that you have control over. The items you do not have control over are not worth investing any energy worrying about it, since you cannot control the outcome.
Placing too much attention to what others think about you will give too much control to a fictitious image that is controlled by other people’s opinions. Instead, focus on the internal audience of your conscience. Being honest with your self and treating you as your best friend is an excellent place to start.
Re-evaluate Your Values
Anytime a person’s actions, beliefs, or values are called into question, the intent is to cause the person to doubt themselves and rattle their cages. If this attack is successful, it will produce feelings of shame, pain, and rejection. These negative emotions can lead someone to act against their values.
If someone falls for this, they will be betraying their values and make themselves feel worse. Instead, look at this as a time to recommit yourself to maintain your standards and solidify your values. Over time you will strengthen your resolve and not be rattled when attacked by others.
Develop Protection By Connecting Acts
Knowing your values is one thing while having proof is something harder to attain. One therapist suggested developing “Agency.” What they were referring to connecting your values to actions that you can point to as evidence of the trait.
Connecting your actions to your values empowers you to have a backbone and the strength to withstand criticism from others. Think about your beliefs and what those actions those beliefs inspire you to do. Do you think that you are a helpful person? What actions in your life prove to both yourself and others that you are, in fact, a useful person.
You do not need to shout this from the rooftops or call any unnecessary attention to yourself; instead, use the “Agency” to develop yourself, and others will come to know the truth about who you are.
It Takes Time and Repetition
Some attacks are more challenging to deal with than others, especially when it is personal. But, if people take something in the business arena as an attack on them, personally, the effect is the same as a personal attack.
Unless personal information used in the business environment comes into question, and a person’s character gets examined in this manner, the way you interpret the attack will determine how you feel about the incident.
The advice to not take things personally is good, but how do you do that? The guidance needs to come with instructions “don’t take things personally,” and do not ingest the attack. Instead, use negative emotions to inspire growth.
I hope this helps you in dealing with character attacks, ether personal or in the business world. It is all about setting your mind to the task and figuring out how to deal with these issues.