Only You Decide How Others Affect You

You can't prevent what others do from affecting you, but you can manage your emotions so as not to fall into a depressive spiral.
Only You Decide How Others Affect You
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 18 November, 2022

People often do certain things that affect you. Furthermore, they don’t always harmonize with your own tastes, principles, or values. However, only you can decide how others affect you. Because becoming bitter about what you can’t change means losing your quality of life. In fact, at the end of the day, you simply need to live by the mantra, ‘live and let live’.

“Focus on the people who inspire you, not the ones who annoy you.”


In quantum physics, there’s a concept known as quantum entanglement. This is a phenomenon that troubled even Albert Einstein himself and that, in some way, can be applied to human behavior.

According to this principle, when two particles come into contact with each other, they both change in some way forever. Even if they’re not close to each other, what they’ve created together, in turn, impacts the rest of the particles.

Quantum entanglement also characterizes all of us. It’s easy to understand. For example, say you have a colleague with the hobby of criticizing others, including you. The bad mood that their behavior provokes in you affects you emotionally every day, to the point that it has an influence on how you deal with your own family.

We’re all like chaotic particles colliding with each other and magnetizing certain emotional charges. What some do, makes others suffer. In fact, those who suffer begin a contagious chain of suffering.

It’s necessary to break the interconnection that decimates, on a daily basis, the quality of your relationships. You must educate your mind so that it’s capable of distancing itself and breaking this play of forces.

The principle of buoyancy

There are probably many things in your life that have ceased to have any effect on you. That’s because you’ve learned that it’s not healthy to expect so much from people. Indeed, it’s better to be cautious and let your supposed friends reveal their true selves.

However, despite all your experiential baggage, you still have a tendency to stumble over the same stone: that of disappointment. Because that mantra of ‘live and let live’ often becomes “But I really don’t want you to be that way”.

You decide how others affect you

It’s not a question of being passive or of carrying out non-resistance, where you gradually become the target of all the poisoned arrows. In this respect, the well-known labor analyst and writer, Daniel Pink, introduces an interesting and useful term, that of buoyancy.

Lighthouse in the sea

To understand this concept, you just need to visualize a buoy floating in the sea. This object knows perfectly well what it is and how the ocean treats it, yet it never sinks. It’s always afloat on the surface, no matter how rough the ocean or how severe the storms.

Mental resistance comes from the subtle point of balance and strength. In other words, you recognize extremely well your values, inner strengths, and emotional ties.

What you are and what others are can be harmonious

You expect and deserve respect, consideration, and recognition. Therefore, when one of these pillars collapses, you have the full right to defend yourself, react, and protect yourself. Nevertheless, you must take the following into consideration:

  • “You’re you and I’m me”. What others say or think of you doesn’t determine who you are. It doesn’t matter how much fire comes out of their mouths, or what kind of poison they want to throw at you. You decide whether it hurts you or not. You have the power to withdraw yourself from the situation.
  • “I accept you for who you are”. Accepting a person doesn’t imply agreeing with what they say or do. It means stopping fighting with them and accepting them as someone different from you. Acceptance, in this case, means giving up the disagreements and not investing any more time, effort, and suffering in what’s simply not worth it.

In the resignation that involves accepting a person for how they are, there exists a certain harmony. It means letting go of something to regain your internal balance. To rise to the surface again.

Things only affect you if you let them

A woman not worrying about what others do.

Earlier, we mentioned quantum entanglement. We know that we’re not alone in our surroundings, in these gravitational fields where we all collide with each other in a dance that’s sometimes out of tune.

In this game of forces and interactions, as Einstein himself said, we almost always take something from others. Therefore, you should try not to get magnetized only by the negative charges, the ones that, in certain ways, also affect your loved ones.

Let others be as they wish to be. Allow the speaker to speak, the messy to waste time in their own mess. Let the bitter people embitter their life and the critics poison themselves with their own tongues. Let them be as they want to be, but when they’re close to you, don’t forget yourself and what you’re like.

Be like that firm buoy in the ocean, firmly attached to its principles and internal strengths. Sooner or later the storm always clears. Consequently, things only affect you if you let them.

Images courtesy Willoughby Owen, Nature PhotoSky, Paul Scott Fawler

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Davis, D. y Hayes, J. (2012). What are the benefits of mindfulness. American Psychological Association.
  • Ma, X., Yue, Z. Q., Gong, Z. Q., Zhang, H., Duan, N. Y., Shi, Y. T., … & Li, Y. F. (2017). The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in psychology, 874.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.