I refuse to fight small battles with petty people 1

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There are a lot of petty, mean people in the world today and just as they exist, so too do people who support and facilitate their bad behaviour. Such people have always existed, but perhaps social media is doing a much better job of giving these people a platform on which to perform.

Like me, I’m sure you have dealt with such people. They are often the types who are only focussed on themselves, or they carry on with a ‘poor me’ attitude trying to get pity or attention from those around them, or they are dishonest and manipulative and use such behaviour to make others around them worse.

I’ve often wondered how happy such people are. They never appear to be satisfied or grateful for what they have and they do a pretty good job of trying to tear down those around them who are.

Someone once said to me ‘you cannot control the behaviour of another person, you can only control your own’, so it is on me to manage my interactions with these nasty people in the best way I can — through my actions and reactions — in order to not hurt myself (and reward them).

While my opinions might not align with everyone, I have come to accept that everyone is entitled to one. It generates discussion and provides different perspectives for me to consider.

While I have to stand true to my values, I shouldn’t do so in a disrespectful way.

Bad behaviour is just plain and simple bad.

In the same way I don’t believe I treat others badly, nor do I take advantage of them, I don’t allow myself to be treated badly by others. It takes great personal strength, but I feel that in standing up for what I believe is right I am setting an example to those around me, especially the person who I feel is demonstrating poor behaviour.

It sounds silly that as I’ve reached adulthood there are still people who don’t know how to behave respectfully; this sort of behaviour is usually the stuff of schoolyard bullies. It’s rife on social media. I really feel that some people hide behind their keyboards and have this view that their thoughts, feelings and opinions are the only ones the rest of a community should be listening to.

There have been times where I have simply walked away from a situation or a discussion because it has become clear to me that the mean-spirited and petty people are unlikely to change.

I have cut off my association with some I once considered friends because the behaviour was unacceptable in my opinion, and as difficult as that was I felt it was the only course of action at the time. I’d be lying if I said those people much consideration now. I made the call to walk away and I did so feeling confident.

That same someone told me ‘you should never walk away in anger or in bitterness’.

There is a poem about people coming into our lives for a reason, a season of a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is you will know what to do for each person.

The world might have its share of petty and mean people, but there are many amazing people who can make up part of your life. In leaving behind the ones no longer worth my time I have been introduced to so many amazing people who have lifted me up and made me a better person.

Their happiness, gratitude and joy is infectious.

I want to fill my life with those people because my life is bigger and better than that.

Have you felt the negative effect of toxic people around you? How have you dealt with the situation? Do you think that bad behaviour is more prevalent in social media? Have you ever encountered poor behaviour online?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I do not stay quite as I believe by bieng silent against evil is condoning it. I find a lot more good in the world and many kind people. When I see a mean nasty post I will say something good to balance the bad.

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