Sometimes I think of my energy as being divided between two jars of sand- there are people who with every negative comment, snide remark about someone else, or a constant string of ‘cant’s’ take a grain of sand from my Positive Jar and transfer them to my Negative Jar. Then, there are the second kind of people, the ones who with every good intention, encouraging words or general comments about the beauty of the world who take a grain of sand with each positive comment from my Negative Jar and gift them to my Positive Jar.
In my “real life” I’ve learned to only associate with people that are a positive influence on me; people that a positive outlook, even when things may be tough, people who lift others up rather than bringing them down, people whose word spoken in public is the same as that spoken in private, basically people with a can-do attitude and generally see the glass half-full. I learned to eliminate the people from my life who were bringing me down and instead surround myself with people who lifted me up, the one’s who made me think and made me want to be a better person, the best version of me. Sometimes I think of my energy as being divided between two jars of sand- there are people who with every negative comment, snide remark about someone else, or a constant string of ‘cant’s’ take a grain of sand from my Positive Jar and transfer them to my Negative Jar. Then, there are the second kind of people, the ones who with every good intention, encouraging words or general comments about the beauty of the world who take a grain of sand with each positive comment from my Negative Jar and gift them to my Positive Jar.
Since being in here, I’ve noticed that my Negative Jar has become fuller than my Positive Jar. It actually took me a few days to notice this, to realise that I was being weighed down by the weight of my Negative Jar, and even beginning to contribute to it myself.
“That one is a fucking bitch.”
“I can’t do this anymore, I’m sick of it.”
“If they expect me to eat that they have another thing coming to them.” (You do remember where you are right?)
“If she pisses me off tonight I’ll have no problem telling her where to go.”
“I am so fucking sick and tired.”
“That group is bollocks, I’m not going.”
“Fuck. Cunt. Bitch. Fucker. Bastard. Shite. Bollocks. Fuck this, fuck that, fuck him, fuck her.”
You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all experienced it. The people who just never have a good word to say, they dominate the entire conversation, cut over anyone else who tries to speak, and then feel a sense of validation all the while maintaining returning their default position of having a negative mental outlook, which is infectious to everyone around them. Especially when going through a tough time, for example inpatient treatment for a disorder or illness of some sort, a particularly busy time at work, or even just someone whose life circumstances may be less than ideal, it’s very easy to first agree with the person out of pity or the belief that you can soothe them in some way. However, after a few days of this I started to find myself, agreeing with them and joining in, allowing myself to be sucked into this negative state of mind, which only fuelled my sense of displacement, depression, ill-content and fear and anxiety around the task that was before me, which was “fucking ridiculous”, “impossible” and “too hard.” I began to identify the people who were weighed down by their Negative Jars and those who were here with the same intention as me; to follow their meal plan, get strong, get well and get home and to do it with a smile on their face. Not that it wouldn’t be less difficult for us than the negative people; an eating disorder doesn’t discriminate, but I felt lighter, more at ease and less bogged down by my situation when I spent my time amongst these people, so much as was possible.
So, how do you identify the Negative People in your life, and how do you deal with them?
Identifying the Nay-Sayers
1. How do they make you feel?
· Negative people can often make you feel on edge, as though you were expected to respond a certain way, whether it be just by agreeing with them or by actually offering to try and fix their real or imagined problems.
· You may feel uncomfortable by their excessive use of bad language, especially if it carries racist or sexist undertones. Both the venom with which they speak and the language itself may feel aggressive, even though it is not directed at you.
· You may intuitively feel like this is an unsafe person to be around; though they may not be a physical threat, your intuition is telling you that this is not a positive situation.
· You may feel a strong desire not to be in their presence.
2. They are often extremely pessimistic and distrustful.
3. They are highly judgemental, even sometimes appearing to take enjoyment in highlighting the faults and failings of others.
4. The person themselves are probably harbouring feelings of shame, anxiousness or guilt, which may or may not be apparent to you as an onlooker.
5. They are demanding and may put excessive pressure on others to succeed.
6. They are often unwilling to take risks, being almost convinced of a negative outcome as opposed to the possibility of a positive one.
7. They may tend to be needy and controlling.
8. Respond extremely poorly to critique directed at them- they take it extremely personally, and will not be open to – let alone accept – critical feedback.
9. There is a constant sense of ‘poor me’, as if the whole universe were conspiring against them.
10. They tend to boast about their self-defined successes, particularly with regard to money, getting one up on others and material posessions. These are the things that give them a sense of validation and they will seek your approval and validation with regard to these things.
So How Can I Protect My Positive Jar?
The key to dealing with negative people is first by identifying them, some examples that may indicate this include those I’ve listed above, which just come from my own experience. I’m sure there are many more, and please feel free to comment in the section below if there are any more examples or give-aways you can think of.
Blocking the Bad Vibes
· If it is a person that can be elimnatated from your life, then do so. If it is a friend or someone in your group of friends, know that you do not need that energy in your life, if someone is not a component in making you and your life more content and fulfilled then you do not owe it to them to continue indulging them. Sounds harsh, but you have to be your own number one.
· If it is a family member of work colleague, someone you can’t avoid, there are a number of tactics you can employ;
a. Try to maintain a non-judgemental stance; don’t take what they say or do personally. Allow it to roll off your back, knowing that it need not affect you on a personal level, it is their issue as to why they feel the need to be this way.
b. If they are being pessimistic, try gently pointing out the potential of a positive outcome but without negating their belief in a negative one.
c. When anticipating negative situations, try and find a way to reframe their concerns in a way that opens up space where some of that negativity can dissipate.
d. Find a way to take some time out, if you’re dealing with someone you live with go for a walk or take some me-time in your room and do something that boosts your positive energy. If you’re in work, take a short break, even if only 5 minutes, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and shake off any negativity that has crept in on you.
· Negative people love getting a negative response and being agreed with when they’re having a moan; don’t be tempted to just nod along with them. Maintain your own grounding, breathe, and stay neutral and ambivalent. An attempt to impose positivity upon them will result in a stronger backlash of negativity, as they will see this as a criticism.
· Try to swing the conversation to something positive, a TV programme they enjoy or an upcoming holiday.
· DO NOT take it personally. Remember that there is a deep-rooted reason for this person’s negative personal outlook and it has nothing to do with you.
· Compliment and buoy them when they do something well, get behind them when they take a positive stance on something or are in a bright mood.
· Maintain the relationship as it is; do not get sucked into a deeper relationship with them, particularly do not land yourself in the role of their sounding-board or confidante. Set boundaries in the relationship.
· Be responsible for yourself. Only you can decide what you are going to allow to affect you. You must stay grounded and act like a person totally secure in their own convictions. Take responsibility for your own energetic space, your own happiness and outlook, despite the pulling influence of the negative energy. In short, maintain your composure and do not compromise on your outlooks and beliefs.
It is difficult, but with practise you will grow more accustomed with identifying negative people and using your tools to deal with them in the best way possible; both maintaining the relationship and protecting your own energy.
Practise grounding techniques; try some deep breathing, visualise a bright white light all around you, imagine that there are roots going from your feet down into the ground, repeat a mantra to yourself, it can be anything, but find something that works for you and that you can practise. I may write a blog about this in itself, please comment if you would be interested in learning more about emotional and energetic grounding.
Above all else, maintain your sense of compassion- remember that everyone has a history, most of which is unknown to us. We have no idea what makes a person think or act the way they do. Just because you are protecting your own headspace from them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have empathy and compassion for them. And you never know what affect your energy could have on another person!
Stay positive, stay strong and stay brave my Yogilateral Warriors!
As always, message me if you need any help or encouragement or if you have any questions. I’m always so happy to hear from you guys, you are my angels, your encouragement is fuel to me!