I’m OK – You’re not OK
When people vent about problem individuals at work or at home, one fact becomes obvious. Most individuals have a long list of things that other people must do to improve but a short list of things they need to change in their own behavior.
It is human nature to rationalize one’s own shortcomings while focusing on the obvious improvement needs of others. Since nearly everyone practices this little deception, the world must be rife with almost-perfect people who wish others around them would shape up... Hmmm – something is wrong with this picture...
When living or working in close proximity, human beings have a remarkable ability to drive each other crazy. It does not matter if it is a spouse, a sibling, or an office mate. The phenomenon occurs daily for most of us. Here are 10 commonsense tips that can change the pattern, so you will have better relations with others.
1. Reverse the roles.
Before venting about another person, think about how that person would describe you to someone else. If you are honest with yourself, it might be a humbling exercise.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Most married couples fight on a daily basis over little things that become habitual annoyances. It is not the 401K account that most couples argue about daily; it is who gets the remote control or why the toothpaste tube is always topless. If we can just remember that the small stuff is really just that, then maybe we can relax a bit.
3. Live and let live.
If a cubicle mate hums when she is happy, there is no reason to have a coronary over it. It is her outlet and way to be cheerful. Even though it curdles your skin, why burst her balloon by pointing out her "problem"? If it is an unconscious habit, she will never be able to control it anyway. Buy a pair of noise-canceling head phones and play the kind of music you like. Let happy people be happy or miserable people be miserable. Focus your energy on creating your own sphere of cheerfulness rather than expecting the rest of the world to conform to your paradigms.
4. Punch out early, don’t punch out the person
Find some way to get away from the petty squabbles before they bring you to the snapping point. If you cannot actually leave without penalty, it does not stop you from mentally taking a break. Just go for a little vacation in your mind. Actually imagine smelling the giant pines if you love to hike. Feel the frost on your cheeks if you like to ski. Relax in an imaginary hot tub while sitting at your desk - can you feel the bubbles going up your back? Imagining happier places has kept many POWs alive for years; the same technique can keep you sane until 5 o'clock.