“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
You may interact with negative people daily, be they friends, family members, a partner, or a colleague. You love them, you care about them, you can’t just cut them out of your life, but they are negative and their negativity is eating away at you. What can you do?
The best way of dealing with life’s challenges is to take a good look at ourselves and take responsibility for what we think, feel and do.
1. Give up the need to complain
Make sure you are taking responsibility for your feelings and mood. Don’t go complaining that other people’s negativity is affecting you, because it will only create more negativity. Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings and see what you can do to make yourself feel better and change the existing situation.
“Whoever has limited knowledge of human nature and seeks happiness by changing everything but his own attitude, will waste his life in futile efforts.”
– Samuel Johnson
2. Similarity Attracts
Good brings about good, bad brings about bad, and whether we want to or not, we pull into our lives events, situations and people that reflect our internal state. Ask yourself: “How am I feeling? Am I happy, excited, thankful and calm? Or am I anxious, frustrated and judgmental?”
You may find that you radiate misery to the environment and that part of the negative energy surrounding you is in fact a reflection of yourself.
3. Don’t believe everything you think
This is definitely one of the hardest things to learn. Look closely at the negative people in your life. What is it about them that gets you going? What affects you so much? Is what they are doing really that bad or is your brain playing games with you?
Remember, the brain is configured to look for trouble, and it focuses on other’s negative qualities. It’ll be very hard to get it to see the positive side of things, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
Ask yourself: “Am I ready to find the good in these people? Am I able to see their good qualities?” Let the answers come naturally, and make sure you are being honest with yourself.
If you feel like you’re insistent and won’t change the way you are looking at people and situations, don’t give yourself a hard time. This takes time and patience, and when you are ready, you’ll take this step. Remember, we all have good in us.
“It’s so hard when I NEED to do it and so easy when I WANT to do it.”
5. Don’t make their problems YOUR problems
For their sake and yours, make sure you are not adopting their problems and becoming negative about them yourself. If you want to cure negativity, sliding down right along with the negative person won’t help, it will just make it worse by validating their thought and behavioral patterns. Rather, focus on solutions, not problems. Offer that and nothing else.
6. Taking ownership
Instead of being a victim and judge, you need to take full responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, and take a different approach.
“Everything that annoys us in others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.”
Don’t waste your time obsessing and thinking: “They are ruining my energy, making me miserable, their negative energy is infecting my own…” Instead, say to yourself: “How can I use this to my advantage? Is there something I’m doing wrong? How can I improve the situation and increase my positive energy to be stronger than their negative energy? What do I learn from all of this?”
7. Come with your own positive energy
Focusing on negative energy cannot create positive energy, and the other way around is also true. Focus on making yourself happy, enough that you have great positive energy, and you will see the negativity cringing away from it.
Remember, energy is contagious!
How to put up positive energy? Focus on the things you like about the negative people, focus on things you love about yourselves, life, and the world around you. Think of loved ones, of things that make you happy. That way, you will increase the positive energy exponentially.
If you incur negative energy by thinking about bad things, the opposite is also true, and you’ll be able to hopefully ‘wake up’ your fellow workers. You can’t focus on both of them at the same time, so choose one – happiness or misery.
8. Be part of the change you’d like to see
The world is no more than a reflection of who we are, deep inside. Try to go for a feeling of well-being, to live a positive life, a merry life, one that has love, trust, and the pursuit of happiness. We cannot change others, but only ourselves. This is the only way to change the world.
Think of it this way: When you are happy, the world seems happy, and the sky is open and blue. When you are sad, the world seems sad as well, and the sky is grey and uncaring, leaving you alone to deal with your pain.
Flow with life events, don’t resist them, live in harmony and be the change you wish to see in the world.
“Never underestimate your power to change yourself. Never overestimate your power to change others.”
– Wayne W. Dyer
9. Awareness and acceptance
Work on understanding life’s inevitable duality – accept the negative with the good. Don’t harp on people’s negativity, don’t judge or fight them. Let them be, look and accept. Remember, your world is no more real than a reflection of who you are, deep inside. Don’t try to bring everyone into your own world, accept theirs as no less real than yours, and their point of view as no less valid.
The hardest part of acceptance is accepting that, sometimes, some people cannot be changed. Their negativity is something they will defend to the last drop. Not because it gives them pleasure, but because they think it is a natural part of themselves.
Even though it’s never too late to try and change that point of view, some never will. It’s up to you to either accept their negativity and react accordingly, or take your distance from them. This is especially hard when it is someone we love.
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of others.”
– Carl Jung
10. Move forward
Dealing with negativity and trying your best to dispel it can be exhausting, and at some point, you have to move on with your life in a positive way. Find a path that allows you to go on with your life without the negativity of others, but also, without the regret that leaving a loved one or friend behind may cause you.
Make your feelings known to them, make them understand they are hard to be around, and slowly decrease your contact. If they want you to stay in their lives, they will be forced to at least pretend to be less negative, and pretending is the first step to actually becoming less negative. The more we act a certain way, the more we believe in it.