I’d consider myself an empathetic person, which I think has some perks. I can put myself in someone else’s shoes and provide comfort during tough times. But being empathetic comes with a downside, namely that other people’s moods easily influence my own. If I have dinner with someone who’s complaining the whole time, I walk away feeling negative myself. On the other hand, if I have coffee with someone who’s jazzed about life, I walk away all fired up too.
Letting other people’s moods influence you is especially tricky when you’re dealing with clients and/or sales like I do as part of my job, so I’m really trying to be more conscious about this. You have to insulate yourself from other people’s moods. Clients, family members, friends, significant others, no one can give you your daily dose of happiness or self-confidence, because you have no control over how another person feels on any given day. If you’re always looking to exterior sources to find your self-worth, you’re going to be dealing with high highs and low lows as you adapt to people’s natural shifts in mood.
A few weeks ago, I was having one of those “everything is awesome!” kind of days. Then I called on a potential new client who clearly wasn’t on the same page, and listened to him yell and curse at me for wasting his time. Instantly my bubble was popped. I was trying to be a big girl and not cry, but felt my eyes welling up. This guy didn’t know me, why was he yelling at me? After caving and ugly crying for a few minutes, I realized that I was giving this guy the liberty of being a day ruiner for me when he clearly hadn’t earned that right. He knew nothing about me personally or professionally. I hadn’t done anything wrong. So why was I feeling embarrassed and/or upset? For as many lovely, beautiful people as I get to deal with on a daily basis, every so often I’m going to find someone who’s the opposite. And they aren’t going to be allowed to hijack my day.
It can be hard to protect yourself from other people’s moods and be self-assured regardless of your daily interactions, but doing so is really beneficial. Because ugly crying is overrated, unless you’re Kim Kardashian.