Do you remember that old saying, “Don’t let the turkeys get you down”? Basically, it meant that you can’t let other people get to you. Easier said than done, right?
We all know that being around other people who don’t get excited about what we get excited about, or even worse, who poo poo us in some way, can really dampen our spirits, make us angry, and steal the joy we were feeling just moments before. Something has occurred that has made you happy for some reason, and they, for some other reason, simply do not want to give you the satisfaction of celebrating with you. They won’t even smile.
It really bothers me when it’s someone close to me, like my daughter or my husband. They may say, “Oh, that’s nice” in a way that makes it VERY clear they couldn’t give a rat’s behind about it (I monitored myself there – I hope you appreciate it, cause I’m starting to work myself up!). However, you get the feeling a complete stranger would be more cordial and accommodating, and take an interest simply to be polite.
Or they sit there and try to point out everything that’s wrong with whatever has made you happy. That’s even worse! I mean there is a time for evaluating plans and getting feedback, but sometimes you just want someone to share in your joy (especially if you’ve been depressed and you’re finally feeling good about something).
I have had spiritual revelations that really meant something to me, but I was spending a lot of time with really negative people who found fault in everything and joy in nothing. It truly affected me. I let the turkeys get me down, jump on my throat, and choke the life out of me.
Worst of all is when these people who show no interest whatsoever in what is important to me demand my full attention, sympathy and empathy whenever THEY share something. Do you know how tempting it is to say, “Oh, that’s nice” in the way I mentioned in the above paragraph? But I don’t, and here is why.
I have learned to separate their reaction from me and my situation. I remind myself that their response is NOT a reflection on my revelation, my situation or my anything. Their misery is THEIR misery, and they take this misery with them everywhere they go and stew in it. To me, it’s like choosing to sit in raw sewage and waste. Ick! Why do that on purpose???
I have tried to speak positive things to a person who is determined to be miserable. That’s totally useless. I have literally been told, “I don’t want to hear anything good!” OK, then be miserable, but I’m not going to stew in the sewage with you! I’m going to find SOMETHING positive about this situation and I’m going to SOAK in that, with an attitude of grattitude that things could be much, much worse.
Honestly, sometimes people are simply selfish and truly don’t give a rat’s behind about what’s going on in our lives. We have to just accept and deal with that truth. We can’t force other people to be interested in and rejoice with us about anything, and we shouldn’t try. And yet, I think some of our own misery can come from trying to get “coca cola from a cow”, or praise from someone who just refuses to give it.
The thing that baffles me the most, however, is ME. Why, when I know that these people historically show no interest in my hobbies, work or feelings, do I TRY to get some positive response from them. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome? And my response is normally to be angry with them, or even worse, listen to their negativity and let it steal my joy and hope!
Then several proverbs come to mind:
Do not talk directly to a fool, because he will despise the wisdom of your words. Proverbs 23:9
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. Proverbs 18:13
If you know someone will act foolishly when you talk to them about certain things, DON’T TALK TO THEM about those things. If they really pay you no attention and just say stuff, it is folly and shame unto them, but it doesn’t have to turn into folly and shame for you. See if you can find someone who WILL rejoice with you. My mom’s great about that, and so is my friend, Lori.
But these next proverbs I believe are directed truly more at myself than anyone else, because I am tempted to lash out when people are selfish or negative around me.
Have you met a person who is quick to answer? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 29:20
A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. Proverbs 29:11
A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame. Proverbs 12:16
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Proverbs 26:11
It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. Proverbs 20:3
I’m that fool who wants to respond hastily and say everything I’m thinking, which I will regret later. I have to guard my mouth continually in those situations and simply walk away before I make things much worse, which is just what Satan wants to happen.
And more importantly, I have to remember that if I go looking for praise, attention, sympathy or a positive attitude, I’d better not go to that person. They will “throw up” their negativity all over me, and I’d be like a dog returning to vomit if I go back! I must avoid the strife, and not go meddling in their own negative affairs. I must leave them to their negativity while I determine to rejoice and again rejoice.
Now, you don’t have to tell me who rains on your parade, or who the turkeys are, but please do share with me how you deal with the negativity and selfishness of others that can tear us down. If you are excited, and no one will rejoice with you, what do you do? As for me, I try to erase the entire conversation and go on as if it never happened, repeating to myself the news that made me so happy in the first place, and find someone else to share my joy.