From my inbox: "Aleda, how to not take people's sh*t?" — Ezzah, Malaysia

I received this question a few days ago, and it can be rephrased as "How to not be easily affected by others? " or "how to not let people get to me?"

We as humans always consider ourselves as rational. The truth is we are only able to maintain our calm when we live with routines.

Nothing to distrupt our patterns.

Once we have to deal with difficult people or challenging situations, we experience a wide range of emotions.

Such circumstances often reveal that we are indeed emotional creatures who are easily dominated by feelings of anger or sadness.

It is easier for us to handle if they are obvious enemies, not those who claim to be our friends or the ones on our side.

Now, why do people get to you so much?


Reason #1: You have co-dependency issues

You depend on other people to make important decisions for you, or need their opinions to help you do it.

You think it is because you trust and respect their judgement. 

However, the truth is, this happens because you lack confidence and do not have a clear sense of who you are.

On the other hand, when people do not think or act like you do or according to your beliefs, you feel the need to fix them or at least make them see from your point of view.

It is because you feel somewhat responsible for others. You may even feel that it is your job to save people and the world.

On the flipside, you could also be a people-pleaser with low emotional intelligence. 

You get your self esteem from helping others, which means that you depend on their validation and approval to feel good about yourself.

Because of that, whenever you say or do something that offend people around you, you feel anxious.

You can definitely notice this trait in yourself when you cannot say no to people without feeling guilty.

Seeing them displeased or disappointed with your words or actions makes you think that it is your fault.

Because you care too much about what other people think, making mistakes may even trigger the feeling of shame.

This is why, when they annoy or hurt you with their words or actions in return, you struggle to fight back or to not let them get in your skin.

Reason #2: You don't know who you are

You love to be around people, which is a good thing. 

However, you do not know how to really be alone.

You have this need to be occupied with the Internet or music when nobody is around.

Otherwise, you would get fidgety and anxious.

You may even resort to alcohol or recreational drugs when you have to deal with a problem just to numb your feelings.

Or you become a workaholic, spending long hours at your job because you do not want to face your situation at home.

Since you do not know how to hold space for yourself, you have difficulty in separating your own feelings and those of others

You unconsciously mistake their emotions as yours.

As a result, you lose yourself and end up not knowing who you truly are as an individual.

Unfortunately, this is something that may consistently happen to you if you are an Empath, someone who possesses a high level of sensitivity towards other people's feelings.

Because of this, you may have problems in setting healthy boundaries with other people.

This is especially true when dealing with self-serving or narcissistic people.

It is not that you cannot tell them off, but you are always able to see the situation from their perspective.

You emphatize with them so much, even though you know deep down that they never feel the same about you.

Reason #3: You are a dreamer and an idealist

As a dreamer, you view the world through feelings, which are often influenced by how you grow up (your childhood) and your experiences, especially in your relationships with people.

Because of that, you make decisions based on how you feel about something (based on your intuition / gut feeling, not through analysis of facts).

When your life is navigated through feelings, you are easily affected by raw emotions.

This, sometimes, causes you to end up with actions that are irrational.

The most powerful raw emotions are often fear and anger.

Since becoming reactive cause you to act irrationally in many occasions, you regret your decisions a lot.

Additionally, when you are also an Idealist, the reality and ugly truths about the world often cause you so much suffering and agony.

Like Shakespeare said, 

"Expectations is the root of all heartache."

Even the news is painful to watch.

As a result, you experience anxiety, fear, distrust, insecurity, dissatisfaction, helplessness, and sorrow.

The world is broken in your eyes, and there is nothing you can do about it.

And when you allow these negative emotions to consume you, you become victimized by them.


Now, what can you do about it?

Solution #1: Presence of mind

In mindfulness, emotions are the results from our thoughts. They just come and go, unless you give meaning to them.

Presence of mind prevents you from the tendency to get emotional and lose perspective at the heat of the moment.

According to author, Robert Greene, what makes your mind stronger and you become more able to control your emotions is internal discipline and toughness, just like what you would do in a battle.

To calm your thoughts, you may practise a few grounding exercises that involve your five senses — touch, sight, smell, taste, hear.

Examples include walking barefoot on the grass or a sandy beach, change into your favourite shirt, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy its aroma, or focus on an item in front of you and take mental notes on its colour, shape, sizes etc.

Even though Empaths can feel and understand people, they do not confuse the emotions of others with theirs and absorb like a sponge.

So, if you are an Empath, you should be able to hold space for your feelings.

When you are overwhelmed by emotions in certain situations, especially the ones that involve other people, ask yourself, "is this feeling mine?"

Let them come like a visitor, but do not allow them to overstay their welcome.

Label each feeling mentally and let it go.

Solution #2: Self-care

You have to prioritize your own sanity

While you care a lot about others, you must include yourself in your compassion.

Only go to where you are reciprocated, appreciated, and celebrated. Steer clear from gossip and drama.

Remind yourself that you cannot help everyone and solve every problem. 

You can only do so much with your limited energy and time.

Creating healthy boundaries may cause others to be upset, but do it anyway, especially when you are dealing with narcissistic and self-serving people.

When a situation is painful for you, you must get out.

Stop being apologetic. Not everyone deserve your empathy.

As much as you love people, you must first do what is best for you.

Only when your own love tank is full that you are able to let your love overflow to others.

Solution #3: Self-reliance

The only way you can survive and thrive in circumstances where you have to deal with difficult people and situations is through self-reliance.

Depend only on yourself for strength.

No matter how much you love being around people, you have to learn to be comfortable with being alone sometimes.

It is how you hold space for yourself.

This means that you should be able to sit alone with your own thoughts and emotions, away from distractions.

Additionally, train yourself to be a realist, someone who views the world as what it is, not as how it should be.

You will suffer if you only see the world in black and white (everything is either good or bad).

The truth is that it is not important at all.

It is of a total waste to spend time judging people's intentions, tearfully questioning why they hurt you.

This is because, whatever they do is for their own benefits, and sometimes at other people's expense.

And so do you.

What matters is the impact of their actions, so never take what people do personally.

From there, realize that if you cannot change anyone or a situation, you only have two options left — accept or walk away.

But if you choose to fight for yourself, like Robert Greene says, 

"You must know your limitations and choose your battles carefully."

Read more: Traits of a feminine woman


Being a feminine woman does not mean that you are doormat.

You may appear soft on the outside, but you are strong on the inside and know how to channel your masculine energy to fight battles and win conflicts.

Additionally, you are also aware that true victory is when you achieve your goals without having to resort to aggression.

Now, does any of the above traits apply to you?

And which solution do you find most suitable for the situation you are currently in and your life in general?



I'd really appreciate your support!

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