How to Respond to a Negative Situation

by Catherine Pratt

One of the main differences between someone with confidence and someone who struggles with their self esteem is in how they respond to an event. The situation will be exactly the same but each person will react very differently. Let’s take the example of you come to work one day and your co-worker doesn't say Hello to you after you greet them good morning. How would you respond?

Would you think something along the lines of:

  • What did I do wrong?
  • Am I in trouble for something? Am I about to be fired?
  • Why doesn’t she like me? No one likes me here.
  • Well, I’m not going to talk to her again.
  • I’ll ask [insert the name of one of your other co-workers here] what they think about it.

You'd also let it ruin your entire morning by driving yourself crazy worrying about it.


  • You don’t take it personally. Maybe she didn't hear you. Maybe she's lost deep in thought over a crisis she's dealing with. Maybe she's just having a bad day or has a headache. Probably has nothing to do with you at all.
  • You don’t react to it at all. You'll see her later and can make sure then that's there's nothing wrong.
  • You refuse to get dragged into the drama of your co-worker’s mood and simply go on about your day.

Which did you relate to? Depending on which choice you made will result in very different outcomes. One you will have a good day and the other will cause you great stress throughout your day.

The next time something similar to this happens, take a deep breath, and realize you are in control of your thoughts. A situation really has no meaning until you add your thoughts to it. It can be a positive situation, a negative one or one of no consequence. You are the only one who gets to decide.

As Wayne Dyers says in his book Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

You make the decision to simply react and be a victim or you choose to be in control. It takes practice but being aware of what you’re thinking and your emotions is a huge step in the right direction.

Too often we don’t even think about how we’re reacting or what we’re thinking. It’s just an automatic response. But they’re our thoughts and we get to decide what we think. We’re the ones with the power to choose, not our thoughts. You can’t change other people but you can control your own thoughts and how you react to others.

Everything is all in how you look at it and how you decide to let it affect you. You have the power to choose. You can learn from it or you can just let it eat you up. It's completely your choice.

As Lynn Grabhorn says in her book, Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting, Expanded Study Edition: The Astonishing Power of Feelings

"As long as we’re reacting to conditions, something will always be wrong. When your joy no longer depends on what anybody else thinks of you, or what anyone else does, then you’ve 'got it'…All it takes is a little practice.”

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