When it comes to human nature there are a lot of negative behaviors that come through in all types of relationships whether it be friendship, family or romantic. Pettiness is perhaps one of the more common of these behaviors and also likely the most detrimental due to another part of human nature, stubbornness. The problem with any action that is considered human nature is that it is often excused by that fact and treated as if it cannot be controlled, but it can be. The next time you find yourself locked in a battle with someone whether it be a casual acquaintance, a close friend, a partner or a member of your family, take stock of it and if you determine that your thoughts or actions are petty you need to know a few things about petty behavior in order to stop it from hurting that relationship.
- Perception is not reality. Often when we throw our hat into the ring based on our perception of the situation and most times because this is founded on raw emotion our perception is completely wrong. When you feel yourself letting a petty thought creep in about anyone, you have to gain control of it and truly look at it again through the eye of another perspective. If this can be done you can gain back the control needed to prevent you from unleashing your petty gripes on the target of your thoughts and anger.
- Welcome to adulthood. Pettiness at it’s core is not only the sweating of the small stuff but letting these trivial grievances affect your relationships in a big way. As children we don’t generally have larger issues to worry about in life so pettiness at it’s core is a childish behavior since it is focusing on smaller issues as though they were large. In general, if how you are reacting in the situation is exactly how you would have reacted to it when you were a child, you are dipping your toe in the petty pond and need to stop it and act like an adult.
- Forgiveness is key. Pettiness infecting a relationship will make a small crack become a fault line if it is not addressed and forgiveness is not given or taken. Even if the other person involved in petty disputes is not responding to a forgiving spirit, the control is still up to you. Forgiveness and forgetting are keys to you letting go of the petty behavior on your part and if you do this and discontinue it on your side it is a guarantee that the other person will eventually relent as well. You may not be as close as you once were but you both will no longer be giving and receiving the hurt pettiness inflicts.
- Find the good. Pettiness being born of negativity such as jealousy, hurt, anger or revenge makes it impossible to see the good in a person. If you cared for them at any point, however, you should be able to still find the good in them. Focusing in on this good in them and adding to that list in your own mind will eventually squeeze out the smallness of those petty thoughts and grievances and make you forget them. Even if you cannot find the good in them, just end the relationship and drop the pettiness regardless because it is the detriment to you, not them to keep harboring the small things.
Pettiness is not to be confused with larger issues in our relationships however often you can take a look at what you think are larger issues and find they were born of a petty one. Analyzing an issue from the very beginning and determining it as a petty thought or grievance and getting control over it can save you from future pain and loss of a relationship. If you have let it go farther before you caught that it was petty it is not too late, just pursue forgiveness. The bottom line is that you only have control of yourself, your thoughts and your feelings so get a grip over pettiness as soon as you identify it, paying the price of a relationship loss will never be worth you carrying on your petty behavior.