It can be a bit tricky at times when you have someone close to you who is always squashing your dreams, bringing down your mood with their glass half empty approach. Perhaps they are untrusting or overly anxious and they try to talk you out of your new scuba diving course because they believe you can’t do it or it’s too dangerous. Or perhaps they judge you harshly or judge others harshly and to be honest you feel it’s wearing you down.
This is understandable because as human beings our happiness depends a lot on the quality of relationships we have.
If you have negative people in your life wouldn’t it be great to have some tools at hand to help you deal with this effectively.
It can be very difficult when you have someone close to you who is always squashing your dreams, bringing down your mood with their pessimism, someone who is untrusting or anxious, who tries to talk you out of your new scuba diving course because it’s too dangerous. Or perhaps they judge you harshly or judge others harshly and to be honest you’re sick of it.
So how do we deal with this?
It would be easy to say we ignore this person and walk away from them. This is a brilliant strategy if that person is rude lady at the check out, but not so easy if this person is your mum or dad or perhaps a sibling.
The first step is to start to understand the reasons for their negativity. Usually negativity has its root in fear. And fear can take many forms. It could be the fear that life is dangerous, or the fear that people can’t be trusted or the fear of failure. Fears feed off one another and into one another, ending up with a big mass of fear, gunking up that person’s beliefs and approach to life.
If you imagine operating from these fears you can see how it might make sense for that person to question your dreams, warn you off trying new things or judge you for your seemingly risky choices.
Fear is the antithesis of feeling empowered or influential in life and this is often the biggest issue for seemingly negative people. They don’t feel that they are in the driving seat of life or feel out of control in some way so they may seek to control your life instead!
The only reasonable way to deal with this negativity yourself is to find compassion for the negative person, take responsibility for your own happiness despite the other person’s negativity, and be mature in how you interact with the negative person.
So how do find compassion for this negative person? Well what you definitely don’t do is give them a lecture on what they should be changing about themselves! Most of us are not that good at taking criticism and for the person who’s prone to negative thinking this is amplified!!
What I find helpful is realizing I only have to deal with this person for a limited amount of time they have to listen to themselves 24hrs a day – they have it much worse!
Recognising you are responsible for your own happiness rather than someone else is an important shift in mindset, which is crucial when dealing with this person. It would be easy to blame this person for your bad mood, but the thing is, no one can make you feel a certain way without you allowing it.
Recognise you have complete influence in how you respond to this person. Start to assert some boundaries. This could be limits on the amount of time you spend with this person, limits on how much you divulge to them – do you really want them stamping on your dreams once again? You can also visualise a protective shield around you when you are in the company of this person. Imagine this shield protects you from their negativity and only allows positivity and all things useful through and it also allows you to give positivity. You can make it a certain colour or shape, play around with it. It works really well.
So do what it takes to preserve your own happiness, don’t allow yourself to fuel negativity by responding with negativity, be a great role model for this person instead. Great quote by Shirley MacLaine, she says, “dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.”
A tip from a great blog called the Tiny Buddha is this: “I understand your pain. But I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.” This helps you approach them with both kindness and firmness.
As you stay secure in your own positive outlook you’ll become a great inspiration for others and because states of mind and body are contagious they may follow your lead and start living a life they love to.
Another thing to bear in mind is if you feel constantly triggered by this person’s negativity, the fact that you’re finding it tricky may alert you to something unresolved within yourself. Perhaps if you were fully secure in how you view yourself and the decisions you make, you wouldn’t feel so wound up or deflated by other’s negativity, you wouldn’t necessarily see this as such a big deal. It would be more like, ah there they go again and it would be water of a ducks back. So you may want to take the opportunity to do some self development work on resolving any self belief/self esteem issues you may be aware of, basically assessing whether this encounter is encouraging you to fix your own tendency for negativity.
And following on from that a good question to ask yourself is whether you get anything from hanging out with this negative person. I know sounds weird to think about it in this way but questioning what you get out of it gives you another perspective. Have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel valued and needed in some way? It’s something to just be aware of.
So top tips are:
- Treat the negative person with compassion, understand what it must be like to live with such negativity in your life – they have it 24/7 and they don’t know how to stop it.
- Take responsibility for your happiness assert boundaries and ensure you are doing what’s right for you, despite this person’s negative perspective
- Make sure you’re responding to this person with maturity – don’t fight negativity with negatively as that’s adding fuel to the fire. Instead ask yourself how you want to respond to them that’s healthy for you. Also start to ask yourself if you get anything from hanging out with this person, have you fallen into a care-giver role or does their being negative make you feel better about yourself in some way?
You can’t save everyone, you can’t always save the world, however what you can do is make the world a better place by working on yourself and becoming self aware, protecting your happiness. You may even help this particular person by showing them it is possible to live a life you love.