By: Jess Berger, Regular Contributor
Image by livestrong.com
Dealing with drama is part of life. Plain and simple. Now more than ever, girl world is filled with opportunities to be embarrassed, insulted, or totally crucified both publicly and privately. Sure the old school arenas still exist: school hallways, the cafeteria, sleepovers, etc. But with ever-increasing access to technology, girls are constantly connected, making them easy targets for criticism, judgment, and a whole host of mean girl behaviors. Y’all know what I’m talking about-- even celebrities get tied up in some vicious mud slinging (I’m looking at you Rihanna and Amanda Bynes. I mean Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. I mean Madonna and Lady Gaga) From nasty Facebook comments to mean tweets to confrontations at school, girls are always at risk for a personal attack.
When faced with negativity, girls have options. Unfortunately, the one I see them choose most often is the “emotional melt down, I-suck-at-life, woe is me!” approach. Needless to say, this does not make them feel any better or help to mitigate the situation AT ALL. So, next time you are confronted with some negativity, try these strategies on for size:
1. Check Yourself: It never feels good to be criticized. That said, what feels like negativity can often be used as constructive feedback. While our instinct is to shut out or deny other people’s negativity, such situations can provide a great opportunity for self-reflection. Ask yourself: is the information I’m receiving true? And if so, how might I shift, change, or adjust to become a better version of myself? If you truly can’t think of anything to do on your end, then move on to the steps below.
2. Don’t Retaliate: Retaliation never works. Ever. Even if it provides a brief moment of satisfaction, I assure you it is fleeting and always backfires. If you feel compelled to confront your nay-sayer, I urge you to take 3 things into consideration before you speak your truth:
1. Take your emotional temperature. If you are boiling over with anger, wait until your feelings are simmering or cooled before initiating a conversation.
2. Choose your timing wisely. Talk it out one-on-one in a private setting, not in front of the whole school in the cafeteria.
3. Use I-statements to prevent defensiveness. Try saying: “I was really embarrassed by your comment on Facebook” instead of “You had no right to post that nasty comment!”
3. Less is More: When others spew negativity at you, it’s important to remember that their motives often include jealousy, insecurity, and fear. In these cases, the aggressor is looking to get a rise out of you. By ignoring the behavior and refusing to believe their negativity, you are taking away their power. I encourage you to resist the temptation to jump into the boxing ring, and simply walk away or turn a blind eye.
4. Forgive and Release: This is tough but I know you can do it. Forgiveness is truly a heroic act, and it is born out of the willingness to feel compassion for those that wrong us.When you truly accept that the negativity coming from others is rooted in their own “stuff,” it becomes easy to find compassion for them. From this place, you can forgive them for their actions and release your own pain. Make no mistake, this is absolutely easier said than done. But in the end, you will experience the closure and peace of mind that you truly desire.
About Jess: Jess Berger is a Certified Teen Girl Life Coach who supports girls in maximizing their potential. Jess' coaching provides girls a space to deepen their self-awareness and truly value themselves as confident, powerful and insightful young women. For more info on Jess and her process, check out her website here: www.MyCoachJess.com