Actions & reactions

We’re taught that it’s easier to turn the other cheek on someone’s bad behaviour. Like it is okay for them to behave badly and for us to turn the other cheek. I remember being taught the exact thing as a child.

I believe it all comes down to the way people react to other people’s behaviour in certain circumstances. For example, if someone is unkind to you but you respond with kindness, the effect of that person’s bad behaviour is your affection. By being nice to people who are unkind, you’re essentially continuing to encourage their bad behaviour.

It’s important we explain how we feel, so we stop holding on to what is their negativity. We cannot change the way other people speak or behave towards us, but we can change the way we perceive what they say and how they say it; even if we can’t always prevent what they say. Rewarding anyone’s bad behaviour is an admission that we’re okay with how the other person behaves.

In the longer term this not only adds to unnecessary stress, but it’s also an excuse for us to avoid dealing with conflict, because that is what it amounts to. In my own experience where we’re trying to avoid conflict by not saying what we really feel and should, we’re creating more conflict by bottling things up.

No one, regardless of circumstance, should be rewarded with kindness for bad or mean behaviour. They’re accountable just as much as we are for our own behaviour.

21 Feb, 2013

8 thoughts on “Actions & reactions

  1. I have found that just ignoring the bad behavior works. The person is trying to get a rise out of us, so why give them the satisfaction? By not reacting at all leaves them ‘speechless’ per say.

    It works when I use it with my son. His doctor told me to ignore his behaviors, especially the repetitive behaviors. He does try to get a reaction because I see him looking to see how I and others will react.

    By not reacting others may not repeat the behavior again because they failed to get anything from it. Also by rewarding good behavior we teach them that they will get a reaction from us.

    This worked well with my dog. If she did her business on the floor I would just clean it up and say nothing, but if she did it on her potty pad she got rewarded and praised and it worked well.

    1. I agree with your sentiments Lisa. Reverse psychology works well with children, particularly if they are misbehaving, but sometimes their approach in terms of communication may need a little fine tuning!

      Unfortunately the same can be said for some adults too.

  2. I agree with what you are saying not to reward people for bad behavior. I tend to be kind to someone mean to me. Trying to let them see that no matter how mean they are they can’t break my positive outlook on things.

    I’m not sure that it works, but I sure do give it the college try. As I tend to shy away from conflict, this is probably why I do it.

    I will try to be a bit more proactive about this. Like with my son if I am trying to teach a lesson, I will bring the error to his attention so he can learn from it.

    1. What you’re doing Maria with your son is right, although probably not always welcomed and should be embraced! We’re parents and that’s part of our job to help and guide our children along their chosen paths.

      When we’re talking to someone and they’re just mean, I believe we have to tell them tactfully what they’ve done. We’re all equals so there’s no reason in my mind why we have to put up with behaviour that is less than gracious from anyone else.

      A lot of it is learned behaviour that perhaps needs relearning again? If others aren’t brought to task on how they speak to people, they’ll never learn to speak nicely or appropriately.

      Although you’re not keen on confrontation Maria, at least the other person will know you’re a force to be reckoned with, rightly so. In the longer term I believe it’s a lot more stressful when we don’t say anything than when we choose to say something.

      Being pro-active is the way forward. Thanks Maria.

  3. I try to avoid mean people at all costs. If I can’t, I try to not react and hope they will go away. Ignoring them is another option.

    1. None of the options you’ve mentioned Randy are particularly easy to work through.

      I know from my own experience how hard it is to ignore or avoid someone particularly if they’re giving us a hard time and they’re family. If a friend is being mean it’s easier to just make an excuse not to meet up, but it’s also hard not to want to react either!

      Having the right people in our lives that we know we relate and communicate well with, definitely helps.

  4. I have certainly used ignoring a person’s nonsense on purpose and it has worked to my advantage.

    I have then told that person what I thought when it was the right time to do that. It helps to think before we react too.

    1. It’s very hard to ignore someone who is constantly persistent, but we might get to that stage where they make it easier for us to just switch off.

      I agree with you that when we think first we are less likely to react negatively, or react at all and that always helps.

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