It’s difficult dealing with hurtful people and their negativity. They feel unsafe and downright mean. You might feel they suck the air out of you when you try to be happy. Whether you’re dealing with unkind family members, co-workers, or neighbors, staying optimistic despite these people is possible. We will explore some suggestions that may help you.

Twelve Ways to Be Happy, Even When Someone Is Hurtful to You


1 – Resist the urge to think about the hurtful person all the time

This restraint can be easier said than done, especially if you must deal with toxic people all day at work. Still, when you’re thinking about them, it gives them power over you. Instead, choose to show them respect, but keep your distance. To preserve your mental health, resist the urge to let your mind drift to them and their antics. Replace the negativity with positive thoughts about what you’re grateful for in your life.

2 – You can’t control their actions, but you can manage your reaction

As you know, you can’t control hurtful people or their negativity. But you have the power to prevent your reaction to them. Sometimes it’s best not to respond to their snide remarks. Other times, it’s best to speak up and tell them to stop being rude. Don’t get emotionally charged up by them or become overly accommodating to appease them. Instead, try to disengage and remain calm as you control your reactions.

3 – Don’t let their negativity change your view of life

It’s easy to allow hurtful people to overshadow your life. Please resist the urge to let them dictate your happiness. Your self-worth isn’t dependent on their acceptance of you. No matter what toxic people think or do, you can remain happy with your life. Your worldview mustn’t be based on what they believe but on your values and beliefs. No matter what these toxic people do, you can find joy in your life.

4 – Be respectful towards them, despite the hurtful words

They may not deserve your respect, but it’s not about them. It’s about who you choose to be despite their behavior. If you respond to them in a hurtful, mean way, you’re acting like them. Treating them respectfully is treating them like you would want someone to treat you. You can feel happy that you’re offering them respect not because of them but because of who you choose to be. Some simple ways to show respect could be:

  • Say good morning: It’s okay if they don’t respond. It is not about them. It’s about how you want to live your life.
  • Acknowledging anything good: Without being overly accommodating, mention something good you notice about them. Maybe they’re always on time at work or keep their yard neat. Whatever it is, be kind even when they are not.
  • Respect what they were: Although they’re mean and hurtful, they probably didn’t start their life like this. Who knows what’s happened in their life to make them unfriendly?
  • Respect that they’re a human: Even the most challenging person has worth as a human. Give them this benefit and show respect.

5 – Remind yourself of your brokenness

So, you may not be as hurtful as the mean people around you, but you have your shortcomings. Maybe you’ve been angry and said unkind things to your kids or partner. Considering your brokenness helps you keep perspective when thinking about the hurtful person. It doesn’t change the circumstances, but it could help you be more understanding when dealing with them. You can shrug off their offenses and not let them steal your happiness.

6 – Ignore the negativity

Of course, you can ignore the hurtful person in your life when all else fails. Sometimes, this is the best course of action when dealing with toxic people. If their negativity is getting to you, steal your joy, and distance yourself from them in the best way. If avoiding them isn’t possible, don’t converse with them. Walk away if they say mean things. You can also tell them you refuse to talk with them anymore. They may not like it when you tell them this, but that’s okay. You’ve at least been honest with them. Your happiness doesn’t depend on them enjoying you or talking to you.


7 – Be compassionate towards them

Hurtful, toxic people aren’t born that way. There’s usually a reason someone acts like this. Perhaps they’ve had something terrible in their lives and are angry at the world. Good chance, the way they treat you has nothing to do with you,  but it could simply be they’re just reacting out of their pain. You can maintain your happiness no matter how they react towards you. It may be helpful to do these things when the toxic person is getting to you.

  • Remind yourself you’re not the problem, nor am I their solution
  • Stay busy filling your life with positive people
  • Find joy in your family and friends
  • Practice relaxation techniques to let go of tension
  • Think about things you can be grateful for in your life

8 – Don’t let someone hurtful control you

Good chance the person’s hurtful demeanor has nothing to do with what you’ve said or done. Don’t feel responsible for their actions. You don’t need to tiptoe around them. Be yourself, and don’t let them control you with their anger. Please resist the urge to soothe them or accommodate them. This behavior reinforces their rude behavior. Stay your joyful self. Remember, they don’t control you.

9 – Stay Calm

Dealing with hurtful people can be exhausting. You may feel a little beat up by a co-worker that constantly gossips about you or a neighbor who cusses you out if you don’t park your car precisely right.  Try to stay calm and release the stress of the situation. You may want to

  • Do yoga to relax your mind and body.
  • Write in a journal to help release your anxiety about these situations.
  • Go for long walks to relax and release tension.
  • Listen to calm music that lifts your heart and mind.
  • Talk to a friend about what’s going on. Just talking about it can help you let go of the stress.

10 – Resist giving in to anger

Researchers say there’s a connection between psychosocial anger and heart disease. Those individuals who get angry a lot have more incidents of heart problems. When you’re mad, your blood pressure goes up. High blood pressure stresses your blood vessels, causing them to constrict and narrow so blood and oxygen can’t flow through them. This may lead to a heart attack or stroke. Anger is never productive. If tempted to be angry at the hurtful person, pull back and get yourself under control. Keep your heart and mind calm, so you aren’t endangering yourself.

11 – Don’t get manipulated by the negativity

Sometimes hurtful people like to play off of other people. They manipulate people to get what they want. If you sense this, refuse to get pulled into their manipulation. Don’t show that you’re interested in their gossip sessions. They’ll eventually give up trying to pull you into their schemes.

To remove yourself, you can say something like this:

  • Sorry, I’m too busy to talk right now.
  • Got to get home to help the kids.
  • Life is so busy that I’m not free to chit-chat.

Of course, you may end up being the topic of the gossip session when you use these excuses, but that’s okay. For your happiness, it’s good to avoid getting manipulated and used by these folks.

12 – Set some boundaries

If you can’t avoid being around the person every day, you can still set some boundaries. If you have a co-worker who insists on making snide remarks about you or someone else. Tell them to stop because you’re not interested in talking about people like this. Then get up and walk away. If they keep doing this, you may need to tell them honestly that you aren’t comfortable being around them when they talk like this. Be firm but kind when you tell them this. They should get the message loud and clear.


Final Thoughts on Avoiding Unhappiness Despite Hurtful Actions of Others

It’s difficult dealing with hurtful people. Whether you experience individuals like this at work, in your neighborhood, or your family, dealing with these toxic people can steal your happiness. It’s possible to stay positive despite their hurtfulness. Resisting the urge to think about them all the time, acknowledging that you can’t control them, and showing respect despite their behavior can help you hold on to your happiness. It’s also good to remind yourself that you aren’t part of their problem and you are their solution.

Indeed, the negativity and bitterness have nothing to do with you. This doesn’t change the situation but can help you have compassion.  Don’t appease them or accommodate their behavior for the sake of peace. Be yourself, and don’t let their hurtful words take away your happiness.