By Joe Martino
Have you ever had a friend, co-worker, teammate or even someone in your family that just seems to put a damper on things all the time? Whether it be with their habits, character traits or the need to be negative, sometimes people in our lives can provide some interesting challenges.
But that in and of itself is already a huge thing to realize: although some people may feel “toxic” or “negative” to us at times, they can actually be playing a great role for us. When you look at it, no one is actually “negative,” “toxic” or “bad,” they are simply having an experience and in our eyes, we are perceiving them in a certain way.
The truth is, there is much we can learn from these situations and we are going to share some great tips to help deal with these situations easily. All we have to do is remember to take a perspective on how we look at these things. Instead of simply booting them and running away, we can really learn a lot about ourselves.
1. See What You Can Learn From Them
One of the very first things, and probably the most important, I like to use in my own life when surrounded by these people is to ask myself what bothers me about them. What is it that is making me feel off or down when these people are around? Are they making me feel an emotion? Bringing up old frustrations? Are they holding me back?
Once we figure out what is setting us off about the person in the first place, we can find out if there is something we can adjust within ourselves first. The reason we look inside first is because we are trying to determine what role this person can be playing for us in our own learning. Often times these people disappear from our lives or transform the minute we do the work inside ourselves that they are shining a light on.
Once you identify what it is that gets you, work to move past that within yourself. It might be that you are judging their actions. It might be that you are getting upset because they do things you don’t like. Maybe they are unreliable all the time and it’s interfering with your life. Either way, the whole point isn’t to simply identify it and remain upset with it but instead to find a level of peace and acceptance with what is happening so you can remove the trigger.
Once you let that go, you can make choices to move on if you need to. The trick here isn’t to simply move on because we don’t want to face what bothers us within ourselves. You will notice that if you take this path you will continue running into people who will bring these things out in you until you let them go. After all, wouldn’t you rather not have those triggers in yourself?
2. Take Time For Yourself
This will partially link to number 1 as when you are trying to pay attention to what is bothering you about someone, it can be helpful to take time for yourself to do so. To go a bit deeper on this step, taking time away from the person or people that can feel toxic or “negative” at times is a great way to compare how you feel in each setting. There are going to be times in life where we have to have these people in our lives for whatever reason, (potentially work related) learning to take time away to recharge a bit is a great way to keep the peace within yourself and avoid getting caught up in the incessant judgment our minds can sometimes get stuck on. It isn’t about having to “put up” with these people forever, but more so to learn what we need and ultimately learn how to stay within your own peace around them.
3. Don’t Judge Them – Practice Practical Compassion
One of the biggest things we can get caught up in and make a habit of is judging people. Sometimes we do it and we don’t even know it! Judgment of another can even be addictive as we can do it out of self-defense or simply because we have been in that mindset so long that we forget to see the great things in others. We judge because sometimes people don’t do things we’d do or they don’t do it how we’d do it. We judge because we can feel self-conscious, jealous or because we are afraid to simply love them for what they do. Whatever the reason, it’s important to get out of the egoic mindset of judging. It isn’t YOU who’s even judging, it’s the ego’s beliefs, ideas, thoughts and concepts creating illusionary ideas of what is right and wrong.
Adding the compassion part is all about realizing that some things people are doing that you don’t like could be a result of challenges in their own life. Maybe they are cranky, angry, snappy, mean, jealous, judgmental, prone to gossip or don’t do things in the “greatest ways.” Whatever the case, try talking to them. Offering your thoughts, observations or tidbits of advice can do a lot to shift someones perspective. You never know what people are going through and often time you might find out that they are very much like you are. if you do choose to speak to someone, remember to be calm and respectful about it.
4. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally
This is very much a lead from number 3 but important enough to mention on its own. We are not always aware of why someone is acting the way that they do. Even if they appear to personally “attack” you, it may not be about you at all. Remembering this will not only create more peace within yourself, but will also help to avoid any flare ups between you and the other person as taking things personally can get ugly at times.
5. Realize Their Behavior Shouldn’t Simply Be Ignored
This one is all about realizing that you don’t have to see their behavior as something you need to learn to deal with and/or simply ignore when they do it. You have the ability to make an impact on other people’s lives by simply recognizing things playing out and choosing to nicely do something about it. Sometimes we can say “oh they are just young” or “oh they are just always like that” and in that we approve of the behavior. Now the key here isn’t to bring judgment into the picture but to simply realize that sometimes people act in ways that aren’t in line with creating a good situation for everyone. Working on transforming that experience is great for not only the person but also everyone around the situation.
By taking action to mention possible changes people could choose to make, you put the ball in their court. Of course you can’t do the work for them but saying something can make a difference.
6. Feel Free To Move On Without Them
After we’ve gone through what has been mentioned above, it’s time to look at the final step that I feel takes a bit of honesty and learning to fully grasp. Moving on from people is always an option. Remember, it’s not about learning to “put up” with people who might be creating an experience you don’t wish to have in your life. But, its important to go through the steps above so that we are not simply running away. Growing and learning ourselves is a big part of this process and appreciating that others can offer that for you is huge.
There does come a time, and I’ve experienced it myself, when people just don’t change. They constantly bring around a “low vibe” and their habits and traits can make situations quite colorful in ways we are ready to move on from. They can be selfish and are always taking but never returning the balance of friendship. In these particular cases we make a choice as to whether or not we wish to move on. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to take this route if you feel you’ve moved beyond what they bring out in you.
This article (How To Respond To Negative People Without Being Negative Yourself) was originally published on Collective Evolution and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.