People You Just Can't Stand

“Never waste a minute of your precious life by squandering it thinking about people you don’t like” ~ Alex Tan

 

Did you ever notice how much time people can spend talking about people they do not like? They will recount every detail of what the person has said or done.  They will repeat things that others have said about that person. They will go over the same stories, comments or opinions time and time again.

 

What purpose does this serve? Theoretically it allows the person to vent and perhaps feel better.  They may well vent, but probably do not feel any better after venting. It is likely they feel worse.

 

Why is this? If you think about it, humans turn away from most things they find distasteful. We will cover our ears if there is an irritating sound, turn away from something visually disturbing, or hold our noses when there is a bad smell. We simply do not want to dwell in unpleasantness.

 

Yet, when it comes to having a “hate on” for someone, humans will absolutely immerse themselves in all of the disturbing and anger- provoking details. When we are angry or upset, the body produces stress hormones and toxic chemicals. The immune system is suppressed for six to eight hours afterwards.

 

This is bad enough to put our bodies through this while we are in the actual situation. However, people often replay the episode over and over to whomever will listen, for days, months, even years after the event. Every time they replay it, even if only in their minds, the effect on the body is the same as when the event actually happened.

 

Our survival instincts cause us to back away from toxic substances. We do not stand behind a vehicle breathing the exhaust. We do not rush to view the scene of an accident where there has been a toxic spill. We try to avoid getting the flu, and may have carbon monoxide detectors in our homes.

 

We must now realize that a toxic state can be created in our own bodies by the way we think, and what we choose to focus on. We need to be more aware of our personal “ecology,” and to understand as well that when we are venting our “toxic spill” it not only negatively affects us, but also those in whose presence we are venting.

 

 

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.  For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit www.gwen.ca

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