Dealing with Negative People
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, many of you have given interesting insights about the realities of life that we’ve featured here. And in this post, one of our regular readers, Anne Lyken-Garner, shares her wisdom in a full article about dealing with negative people. All through your life, even from your early childhood, you’ve had to deal with negative people. Kids in the playground taunted you just because you had a new hair cut or wore shoes that were different from their own. The teasing continued when they found that your brain didn’t work quite like theirs; yours was faster, slower or just different from theirs. They chastised you for being you. In our lives, we’ll always have negative people together with taxes, love and death. The points below will definitely help you in learning how to deal with them. They will show you how to avoid swallowing their poison. Their jealousy has nothing to do with you It’s actually a compliment when people are jealous of you. In their minds you’re better than they are. You have something they feel they should have, or you do something better than they do. No one’s jealous of someone they think is below them or less ‘worthy’ than themselves. You’re feeling positive about something great in your life. You’ve started a wonderful relationship with someone who finally treats and loves you the way you’ve always wanted. You’ve found fantastic employment which pays well, after slaving away at a dead-end job for years. You prayed and hoped that something better would come along in your life – your love or your career – and after hard grafting on your part, it does. You’re on a high but your friend or someone close to you says or does something that makes you feel bad at a time when you’re celebrating. Despite yourself and your high mood, you feel distraught or anguished. This person’s jealousy is eating away at you and even if you don’t realise it, you’ve allowed him or her to dampen your spirit. You’ve given that person permission to make you feel bad about yourself. Instead of feeling elated, you’re now wondering what you’ve done to them. How to combat jealousy: Realise that their jealousy has nothing to do with you. This is their resentment about their own lives. Of course, they should not behave that way towards you. But now that you’ve seen their true nature, the important thing is to realise you can do nothing about it. Shrug it off and continue on your high. Life’s got too many lows to allow other people’s bad behaviour taint the good that happens to you. Trust issues are their issues You have a friend whom you love with all your heart. You tell your friend things you’d never share with anyone else. You’ll do anything to help him or her, even if it meant sacrificing something for yourself. Yet, you’re being nagged by the suspicion that that person doesn’t trust you. Your ‘friend’ constantly hides important events or things that you only find out when they come to the fore or someone else tells you about them. You know they don’t trust you, but you’ve never given them a reason not to. You’ve been totally loyal and are still waiting for the day when they’ll feel comfortable enough to share something with you. You’re banging your head against the wall of doubt, thinking that you may have given them a reason in the past to misjudge your actions or something you said. However, months and maybe years later, you haven’t found an answer. How to combat trust issues: Remember that the effort should start with the person who has to take the step to trust. In the example above, it’s your ‘friend’. His or her inability to trust may have roots from childhood or from past relationships. New people in that person’s life don’t have to give him or her a reason to mistrust them, your ‘friend’ just won’t trust anyone. Remember that no matter what you do right, that person has to be able to trust in general before he or she can trust you. It’s not your fault they won’t trust you unless you’ve done them wrong. Their attitude is their own. You’re not responsible for it. You go out in the morning, full of zest. Then someone bumps into you. You say sorry, but they don’t. Someone cuts you off on the road or a customer swears at you on the phone when all you’re trying to do is help them. But many times, best friends, family members or colleagues can do this, and they do it even better. The people who love you can hurt you deeper. Sometimes the hurt is so bad, you want to retaliate. You feel that the only way to make yourself better is to do the same to them – or worse. Consider the way in which they’ve hurt you, the way you felt about what they did, and how it lessened the weight of their personality in your opinion. Well, returning bad for bad is tantamount to chipping away the edges of your good character. Each vindictive act you commit poisons the good in you bit by bit. Don’t allow other people’s attitudes to make you do this to yourself. How to combat negative attitude problems: Recognise them for what they are – negative attitudes. Think about the way it makes you feel and use this to develop a positive result. If someone acts badly towards you, use the energy this has ignited to do something positive for someone else. Making someone else feel good will rub off on you in ways you’ve never imagined. Remember the negative impact vindictive attitudes have on your character? Good deeds enrich you – bit by bit until you can get to that stage where you understand that other people’s attitudes are their own. They’re responsible for theirs, and you, for yours. At this point, negative comments and deeds will affect you less and less. Pick out the good people All of the points above rest on this last one. You won’t have to deal with a wave of negative people if you can weed most of them out of your life. Of course, you can’t totally avoid colleagues, close friends and family members who’re negative. These are the people who sand down your good side by taking chunks of your character away, bits at a time. You have to balance the effect of these people you can’t avoid by picking out the good people you come across in your life. I’ve had to learn this from necessity. My childhood was so saturated with abuse, poverty and anguish that it was no childhood at all. I picked out the good deeds and attitudes of a young aunt and those of a teacher to help me see the light at the end of the tunnel of my life. The good people in your life may not be those around you or even those you come across every day. However, if you notice something good, positive, supportive that you can emulate – use it. Focus on these people like I did with my aunt and my teacher – even without them knowing – to pull myself out of the dysfunctional future that would’ve certainly been mine. Takeaway – dealing with negative people You should never hand the power you have on your personality and life over to anyone – least of all the dregs of society. It makes no sense to leave your fate in the hands of people you dislike. Yet, this is what you do when you react negatively to people who hurt you. Remember that their jealousy has nothing to do with you, so don’t let it upset you. Trust issues that they have didn’t start with you. If they’re unable to trust you (providing you’ve always been honest with them), this is their issue, their failing – not yours. The only attitude you’re responsible for is yours. So watch how you behave towards those who hurt you. Revenge may be sweet, but it chips away at who you are and is really not worth the price you pay for losing the good in you. All in all, emulate the good people you come across and allow their actions to motivate you to becoming the person you know you can be. Anne Lyken-Garner is a blogger and published author. Her inspirational memoir, Sunday’s Child is now out. It’s an inspirational true story of a little girl struggling to rise above poverty, food lines, abuse, mental anguish and political hardships. Anne specialises in confidence building based on her own experiences. She also writes about relationships and writing.