The Bad Habit of Thinking Badly of Others

February 3, 2020
People with a bad habit of thinking badly of others are often unable to see anything positive in people. Unfortunately, their social and emotional life becomes highly impoverished and it may even lead them to hurt others.

Thinking badly of others is a bad habit derived from prejudice. The worst part is that this behavior is usually prophetic. In other words, the expectation that someone will behave badly or harm often becomes true due to the intervention of those who believe so.

Those who adopt the habit of thinking badly about others are usually people who’ve had surprising and negative experiences in the past. Such experiences aren’t the problem, but their lack of elaboration. They’re jaded and biased and, unfortunately, often lead to further damage.

It’s hard to feel disappointed by others. Furthermore, it’s a painful experience that isn’t easy to overcome. Mainly because, from your perspective, it represented deceit, betrayal of trust, or disregard. However, it’s up to you to either deal with the pain or let it linger.

“Whoever is suspicious invites treason.”

-Voltaire-

A woman hugging a pillow.

Thinking badly of others

The bad habit of thinking badly of others is a way of anticipating possible damage. It roots itself in the idea that someone will deceive you if you don’t stay alert. Or that they must be on the defense. Sometimes, people hurt others to avoid being hurt. In any case, they expect the worst because they’re trying to prevent surprises.

As a consequence, they end up creating superfluous and defensive connections with others, be it deserved or not. Thus, they deprive themselves of the joy of showing themselves as they are, without shields or masks. Likewise, they stop experiencing the joy from establishing an intimate bond with someone.

Worst of all, they end up leading others into fulfilling negative expectations in one way or another. A distrustful person can only generate distrust and distance. It’s a magnet for negativity they surround themselves with. So consequently, this results in a tense and defensive situation.

A dog is more likely to attack you when they sense your fear. This is because the animal interprets it as readiness to fight. Human beings have a similar instinct.

The negative experiences of the past

A person who thinks badly of others is in pain, even if they don’t admit it. This habit drains their well-being and keeps the flame of past disappointments alive. They may also develop harmful behaviors toward others, due to their defensive attitude.

When a person doesn’t address their pain and doesn’t elaborate on it, they end up using it as an axis to revolve around. People who have been hurt before always have a reason to distrust others. There’s major disappointment behind their attitude. Quite often, it had to do with someone they deeply loved or depended on.

Their rejection, abandonment, or harm came as a surprise to them. This is precisely what impacted them the most. Being let down by someone they once trusted. A person who’s been the victim of such a situation often blames themselves and has no intention of being caught off guard again.

A seemingly distant couple.

Elaborate the pain

Every person has the ability to let others down and to be let down by others. No one goes through life without disappointing others. This is because human beings are neither angels nor demons. Nobody is perfect and everyone hurts someone.

Distrusting humanity doesn’t ease your life. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. It merely turns your disappointment into the central focus of life and imprisons you. The way out isn’t to strengthen your defenses and just begin to trust everyone overnight. Rather, it’s about returning to those episodes that were so hard on you.

You must forgive and let go mainly as a way to be at peace with yourself. If you trust someone and they deceive or disappoint you, then the action is personal to them, not to you. Someone did you wrong because you did the right thing: you trusted them.

Vivalda, N. (2016). Paulo o los riesgos espirituales de la altivez intelectual: Impertinencia cognitiva y castigo en El condenado por desconfiado. Bulletin of the Comediantes, 68(2), 22-45.