Social media came with a simple button to unfriend or block someone. I am sure you must have unfriended or muted many on Facebook or Instagram. These tools work wonders in the virtual world but how to deal if you dislike someone yet you have to work or live with? The situation is no longer easy and there is no button available to help you get out of this situation. But yes! There is a wonderful way to deal with such a situation if we understand why our body behaves in a certain way when we dislike someone.
How body behaves
To not like a situation, event or person is part of our survival mechanism. Our brain has a special area designated to interpret a person or a situation to be a threat. Unfortunately, the response of the brain is the same if you are being chased by a lion or you dislike someone. The brain simply switches on our “Flight-or-Fight” response. Thus in the case of a person you dislike, the brain starts to build fear and your reaction towards the person becomes protective towards your survival. The issue of dislike may not be a case of life or death, but the stressors that the brain triggers are the same. Hence we start to react in a particular way in which we further build negative thoughts concerning that person. To bring yourself into the safe zone, you may try and get support from your surroundings by trying to get more people to think your way about the disliked person. Even if the other person has some positive things, your brain doesn’t allow you to see those. The fearful instinct causes you to oppose, interrupt or even harm a disliked person. But the other person is also human and if the message of your dislike is getting through, the reaction from the person will also be the same. This will further trigger negative feelings. Hence it becomes a case of a snake eating its own tail.
The disconnect button
What the Facebook button does is simply get the other person out of sight and hence out of mind. We may not have such a button in our lives, but we can definitely practice this by achieving ‘Mindfulness’. Here once you are aware that you dislike a person and you know how your body will behave, you can start conditioning yourself to respond rationally. When a dislike issue hits you, simply remember the Facebook button principle which is ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Once you are under control, you can start to reason your dislike and find out where it is coming from. This will further help overcome the predesigned reaction of the body out of fear which actually maybe there at all. If all fails, remember another button on Facebook; ‘Block’. Simply walk away from the person and block the thoughts, events, or any association with the person. Soon you will be back on controlling the outcome.
Dislike is just a controllable action
When we dislike someone we automatically start accumulating certain negative points about the person without even getting into the depth of the matter. The brain triggers stress markers and the action is already known to us now. But, our actions here are controllable especially if we know why we are behaving in a particular way. Practice mindfulness on various events both happy and sad. Once you have understood mindfulness, it becomes a tool to control the outcome of your thoughts. Hence your actions become controllable.