'You take it too much to heart.'
'Don't be so sensitive!'
'You need to forget about other people.'
'You're too thin-skinned!'
Does any of his sound familiar? Have you been bothered or upset by something and then been 'advised' to not take so much notice?
One of the issues I've found it hardest to put across is my apparently obsessive attitude to other people being snappy with me. I don't mean big arguments or even properly spiteful rebukes. I'm talking about the small stuff, the everyday sniping, the cat-calling, the tiny comments lodged in the heart of a conversation which jump out and become full-sized.
An hour's conversation can be ruined by one or two of these snide little comments or snarling asides. How does a conversation count as pleasant when the person you are talking to feels it's acceptable to slip in a shoddy reminder of what you did wrong? Why is it still seen as good social interaction when your confidante peppers all the nice stuff with remarks which are laughed off at the time and then examined after?
How many good situations have been poisoned in retrospect because I could see, in perfect, neon-lit clarity, the words thrown at me when I wasn't looking?
Is this how it is in normal society?
I don't want to sound as though I'm zeroing in on the bad stuff and ignoring the full and proper relationships which are the better part of my life. It's just that the good things tend to form together and become an indistinct mass, something kindly but with no distinguishing features. The bad stuff stays where it is, fixed in place until I need to pick it up and cut myself on it.
I know I'm also guilty of snarly comments and letting things slip which would have been better left in the cupboard. It's one of my faults so I feel a bit hypocritical bringing up how much it hurts me when other people do it.
I guess the difference is that I tend to angle the conversation around to discussing these awkward subjects, focusing on them in a way that might be better left alone. Want to avoid talking about your job-hunting? No deal, we're talking about it. Want to talk about nice, jolly shopping? Nope, we're going to talk about your finances and get them sorted out!
I have far less trouble if people do this with me, though. What I hate is having a quick, sharp spear thrown my way when I'm looking at something else then the other person carrying on as though nothing happened while I'm wondering about the pain.
Oh, I forgot a good one. This is one of those sayings that works its way onto internet memes and photo-shopped pictures of puppies with spilled dinners - Don't sweat the small stuff.
Yes, really, don't sweat the small stuff. Don't take notice when people attack you in a small way, or dig their verbal elbows in your ribs and expect you to laugh it off. Don't be upset when you are demeaned in little sentences rather than in a big, whole conversation. Don't cry when you are bullied in tiny, separate amounts rather than being beaten to the ground in one punch.
Don't sweat the small stuff, readers. Apparently save it for the big stuff, you know, the things that really hurt and upset you and make you wonder who your friends are. Sweat those instead.
copyright Amanda J Harrington 2013
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