Allow me to describe someone that exists somewhere in your life: they are eternally negative, always seeing the downside of everything. They often make passive agressive comments, seem to always have negative thoughts and simply have a downright rotten outlook on life. They are miserable.
You know someone like this, right? Maybe she's the co-worker who gives you nasty looks and gossips behind your back. Perhaps he's the man who screams something rude from his car as you walk through a parking lot. Often, we feel as though these people have the capactity to ruin our day. Or, they cause us to have a negative outlook on ourselves or feel a sense of guilt about our position in life.
But here's the thing we tend to forget: you are only as miserable as you allow yourself to be. Those people, the ones who try to ruin your day? It's not your job to figure out why they are angry or what you did to deserve their wrath. It's your role to understand that they cannot steal your joy.
I heard someone say something recently that was a Oprah-aha-moment-worthy-experience: when someone says something to you, they are simply making an observation. It is you who gives that observation meaning, who strengthens it into a moment that is capable of ruining your day. As we all know, everyone has an opinion. Some, naturally, are just more harsh than others. However, I like to think of those moments as a test.
The Misery Test goes something like this: you are having a perfectly fine day. Someone, perhaps like that person I mentioned earlier, says something incredibly nasty to you. They give you a backhanded compliment like, "You know, you look nice when you actually try." or "You looked better as a blond." You get the point. My real point, however, is this: you are being tested. You can become miserable too, if you so choose. You can re-trace your steps and try to figure out what it was that you did to deserve such harshness or feel obligated to figure out why that person is so angry.
What you will likely discover is this: it's not about you. It's not your job to figure everyone else out. It's your job to live your live with purpose, to find the good in awful situations and to understand that words are only as powerful as you let them become. So often, we blame ourselves for someone else's bad day. We think we ruined them, or their life in some way that only we can obsess over or try to mend with our own words.
I say this: don't let your life be about anyone but you. The things you wear, the voices that plague your outlook on yourself, they really mean nothing. Listen your heart. Allow your voice be the strongest one that ever speaks to you.