Kit Steinkellner
Updated Nov 19, 2014 @ 11:37 am

Some people can be mean. Like REALLY mean. Like make you want to go crawl under the pile of clothes sitting on your closet floor, close the door, and never see the light of day again, like THAT mean. They can be mean at school, at work, at parties, on the internet, BASICALLY EVERYWHERE.

So what do you do when people are mean? How do you cope and deal? What’s the secret to shaking off the haters and moving on with your life? Below, a list of things to try when the jerks of the world get you down—as illustrated by ducklings (because they’ve been there).

Remember That They’re Only Being Mean Because THEY’RE UNHAPPY

I know, I know, I KNOW, I sound just like your mom in 7th grade telling you that the reason those girls won’t sit with you at lunch is because they’re jealous of you. But your mom was at least a LITTLE bit right, those girls weren’t being mean for no reason. Happy people are too busy being happy to take other people down. If someone is being awful to you, as badly as they make you feel, remember, you get to go home/log of Twitter/be done with that person. They have to live with their awfulness FOREVER (or at least until they get their act together and start being an okay human).

Do Something Nice For Yourself

Eat your feelings. Buy yourself a dress that makes your feel like a zillion bucks. Go to the movies. Be as nice to yourself as Ryan Gosling was to Rachel McAdams in “The Notebook” when he was trying to get her to go on a date with him. When the world isn’t showing you much love, you got to double down on loving yourself.

Do Something Nice For Someone Else

I actually think this works even better than doing something nice for yourself. Is there someone you can help in your life? A family member who needs an extra pair of hands on a project, a friend who is also having a rough time and could use a batch of cookies and someone who will just let them talk their hearts out all Sunday afternoon? Volunteering is also an A+ option in this scenario. Find an organization that will let you help kids/families/animals in need. And if someone making you feel low led to you making someone else feel great, well, that doesn’t make it ALL worth it, but it makes it feel MORE worth it, certainly.

Turn your feelings into action

If you don’t have a diary, start one stat and get all your feelings down on paper. Or fictionalize your circumstances and get started on that novel or screenplay you always wanted to write. A former writing student of mine has recently gotten a lot of attention for taking her experiences with bullying and penning a guidebook for kids dealing with mean peers. There’s a reason they say the pen is mightier than the sword, pain can lead to great writing, and you really can get your vengeance on the page. If writing isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other ways to turn the hurt into something productive. You could channel your feelings into a cool drawing, you could filter all your pain into one really awesome Soul Cycle class, or if say, you’re a duck, you could just swim it out.

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