If you've ever been in the presence of this kind of negativity, then you know it's not a pleasant experience. It can take you from the top of the world to crashing down in the throes of your own negativity, draining you of all energy, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth.
Not too long ago, I experienced this type of feeling first-hand, after meeting up with a friend for dinner where the conversation quickly switched from catching up to an endless string of complaints, and I became completely absorbed by her negativity. I left the restaurant feeling drained and exhausted, and slightly confused on how I could allow her to bring me down and affect me like that.
So - what type of action can you take?
DROP THE JUDGMENTSWhen I first started diving into my own personal-growth journey, it felt like my eyes had been opened to an entirely new world. The thoughts that were running through my mind, my entire way of being was transforming, and it felt incredibly liberating. You know the feeling when you discover something so freaking awesome and you just want to shout it from the rooftops?
Then you come face-to-face with another person, who is wrapped up in their own story or crippled with negativity and you kind of... want to shake them and shout, "Life doesn't have to be so hard! You're doing it wrong!"
Simply put? We all have our own struggles, stories, and heartbreak, and we will never (ever, ever) know exactly what somebody else is going through. We are all trudging down our own path, the lessons unfolding in front of us uniquely as we need them.
You may think you're more spiritually evolved or that they are a disastrous mess, but that is only your projection of them, and it's not the truth.
You are not better than or superior to anyone.
Judge less, love more. (Tweet this!)
MEET THEM WHERE THEY AREIt might be tempting to pull-out all your problem-solving tricks when somebody comes to you with their issues and complaints. We'll brainstorm like crazy, just wanting to make somebody feel better. We'll pump out our best pick-me-up's, dish out a hearty dish of positivity, and pour our energy into brightening their day.
I'm going to suggest something a little different: Instead of resisting their negativity, allow it to flow freely.
We can spend all of our time trying to 'block' their negative energy from entering our psyche, but what happens when we just let it be? When we create a loving container for a good ol' rant session?
When we meet them where they are and put ourselves in their shoes, we choose to love a little deeper:
"I can't imagine having to deal with that, that must be really hard for you."
"I can see how difficult your life must be right now."
When we enter that space with them, reinforcing and becoming a mirror of their negativity, they can release that energy and move past their negativity.
Release > Suppression.
OWN YOUR ENERGYHave you ever heard of the term "energy vampires"? It's, essentially, negative people who "suck" the energy from you, draining and depleting you.
As Kate of Your Courageous Life puts it, "They don't exist. That’s just a way to put blame on something external–that thing, out there, over there…that’s the cause. Not me. Not my choices."
(Read Kate's spot-on article on how energy vampires are bullshit here.)
Nobody can make you feel a certain way without your permission first.
Examine the ways where you're giving your power away.
Own your energy.
SHINE THE SPOTLIGHT ON YOUEvery moment that's presented before us is an opportunity for growth. To shift your perspective. See things in a different light. Stretch our hearts open a little wider.
Instead of becoming reactive, ask, "What can I learn from this person?"
"The qualities I see in them, where do I see them in myself?"
Expand your capacity for love and compassion.
FLEX YOUR 'FREE-WILL' MUSCLEWe all have a choice.
We choose who we spend our time with.
We choose the lens that we view life through.
We can choose to judge, complain, and blame.
We can choose to step inside someone else's shoes.
We can choose compassion, empathy, and love.
We can choose to hang on or we can choose to let go.
We can choose to become present, learn, and grow.
When we know it's all a choice, we enter a space where we're free to make different choices. (Tweet this!)
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Have you ever dealt with someone like this? How do you handle negative people and situations? Hop on over to the comments - I can't wait to hear how this resonated with you and listen to your point of view.