3 Ways to Deal with People Who Have a Crab Mentality

Crab MentalityThere’s a man who’s selling crabs in the street.

Suddenly, a woman tried to stop him and curiously asked something.

“Hey! why is it that bucket in your left is covered? And the other one is not?”

The man says pointing his finger, “Oh, this bucket ma’am what’s inside is a mix of American and German crabs. While this one is a Filipino crab.  Look! if one crab attempts to climb, a few others will pull him down — do you want some?”

A Metaphor

The story I shared is a metaphor where crab mentality is derived.

Crab mentality is best described by a phrase “If I can’t have it, neither can you.”

The people who have these type of thinking are not inclined to celebrate our success. They tend to criticize us when they think we’re getting ahead of them. Instead of appreciating our efforts.

Do You Some Crabs in Your Life?

Those people who try to pull you down or bring out the worse in you? I bet you have some (Or many?).

I can remember a close encounter with these type of people.

I was leading a youth organization. There’s a particular member who’s always telling other members that he doesn’t believe what I say until I become successful.  I don’t know what I did to this person. I was very nice to him.

He’s an angel in front of me. At the back, he becomes a devil.

Another, there’s a leader whom I follow well. After a few years of serving together in church, he became insecure about me.

He told me face to face that he has a pride. He could not accept that a lot of youth following me. He’s worried that his influence on them is fading.

I pitied him. I didn’t aspire to be a leader. He was the one who promoted me.

After years of service in the youth community, I resigned. I flew to another city to look for better job opportunities.

The Biggest Crab of My Life

I thought I left all the crabs at home. I didn’t expect I would encounter the most fearsome one. 

Think of all the crabs in your life, combined them all together, and you have my crab!  

This man was my roommate. He tried to look for a job for months but have no luck. I treated him like an old friend. He could borrow my guitar anytime. I taught him how to play some songs. And we ate together.

Then suddenly to my big big surprise, he began to treat me like his biggest enemy in the world.

He called me gay, cocky, and whatever came in his crazy mind. When he couldn’t endure being ignored anymore, he tried to push me to start a fight. I almost lost my temper!

But from out of nowhere, a roommate butt in. He cut us in the middle to stop the rumble.

Unexpected Reconciliation

In one of my rest days, I was preparing for my lunch. I grilled a big fish.

We shared the same kitchen. Unexpectedly, he passed by. I felt uncomfortable with his presence.

Just a courtesy, I invited him to eat (I presumed he would say no after what happened to us).

But, he said yes!

Whoo! What shall I do?

There’s nothing I could do. So we sat down and ate. While we were eating, I looked at him. He didn’t look at me.

He hates me. I hated him.  

After a few moments of awkward silence, I initiated first to talk.

“I heard you’re planning to go back home. Is this true?”

“Yes, my mother asked me to go home. I’ll continue to apply there.” He said calmly.

When I heard this line. I felt my heart was flying with joy. The biggest crab of my life will be gone soon.

“Yehey!” My joyful mind said.

But, I tried to hide it. Acting to be as cool as I am. As handsome as I could be.

I said to him, “That’s good. Hope you get a job there. I wish you the best of luck!”

Then he said something I didn’t expect.

“Thank you, I’m so sorry for what happened to us. I didn’t mean to hurt you.  Please forgive me.”

“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I already forgave you.” I said sincerely.

We finished our lunch as if nothing happened to us. We felt our friendships again.

Here’s what I learned in dealing with a lot of crabs in the past.

3 Ways to Deal With Them

1.  We Must Ignore Them 

We shouldn’t make an effort to please these crabs. It’s a total waste of time. Just ignore them and do our thing.

We must focus on our goals instead.

If they whine about us, let it be. Let them complain about life. But not us.

We can’t afford to always respond to them. They could seriously rub our joy. If we give them a chance to have a share of our time and attention.

Teach your mind to ignore these crabs. Think of something else.

2. Still Be Good to Them

This sounds easy as it may seem. In reality, It’s hard to be good with our enemies. It’s hard to be good with people who pull us down. It’s hard to be good to people who bring out the worst in us.

But, I believe still pays to be good to them.

No, I didn’t mean we have to send them gifts and flowers for peace-offering literally. What I mean, when we face them unavoidably, give your sincere smile and act like nothing happened.

We have to show we are better than them.

Remember, my biggest crab? I acted to still be good to him. Despite all his attacks. Maybe he realized he’s fighting a good man. I invited him to eat. I fed my enemy.

I know this is difficult to some degree.

But I believe it still pays off to be good in the end.

(Though there might be some exception for some type of scenarios and who are you dealing with). 

3. Forgive Them

Forgive before they ask forgiveness. It’s a way to serenity. Be ready to forgive.  Open your heart to reconciliation. People are people. They commit mistakes

Forgiveness gives peace. Heal our hearts. Mend relationships.

Crabs Will Always Be Bart of Life

The people who are trying to pull us down, those who bring out the worse in us, and those who are not happy with our successes, will always be part of our lives.

We can’t avoid them. It’s part of human nature to be jealous, to be envious and to feel insecure.

What’s important, we should not lose our identity of who we are just to please these type of people.

Friends, I encourage you, don’t mind the crabs of life, continue to shine and be the best as you can ever be.


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