Negative people can really wreak havoc with your day. Listening to chronic (usually unfounded) complaints, hearing repeated forecasts of doom, and seeing nothing more than constant scowling and growling can take its toll on the people around. I truly believe that the atmosphere is fed by the energy around, and when that energy is negativity and gloom, the temperature is not very comfortable.
Negativity can drain you. A constant barrage of criticism can make you doubt yourself. Why bother to smile when it’s met with derision?
Don’t let someone else’s Bad Day(s) ruin your day. You do have a choice. Depending on the situation it may be easiest to simply walk away and avoid the bad vibes. Join another gym, find another critique group, sit at a different lunchroom table… Sometimes you can’t extricate yourself that easily and you have to find a way to deal with it.
Open your mind to understanding what has caused the other person’s gloom — they may lack confidence, they may have difficulty seeing beyond something truly unfortunate that has happened to them, they may be surrounded by negative people, or they may feel powerless in other areas of their lives and feel the need to exert harsh control. Whatever the reason, it is often a cry for help, or understanding, a need to feel hugged, or even a need to just be left alone.
Your own attitude doesn’t need to be a part of someone else’s schemes. If the negative person around you needs compassion, you can empathize but still realize whatever bad thing happened did NOT happen to you. You can reach out a hand without giving up you own safe perch. You can offer encouragement without demeaning your own abilities. Feeding positive energy into the environment doesn’t mean remaining oblivious to others and their needs; it means finding ways to accept and build on the strengths and needs of all including yourself.
Self-preservation is not just a skill, it is a necessity. Self-preservation does not mean building a figurative wall around yourself. By all means interact with those people, but if you can, avoid topics that you know will set them off (if they are upset about being passed over for a promotion, you don’t need to constantly remind them of the promoted person’s success!); if you can’t avoid the hot topics don’t gloat, keep repeating yourself, or lie. Try to change the environment by including others so that the focus is not just on the two of you. Find ways to give genuine praise. Never tell someone to just get over it.
Sometimes it will take reminders like the morning affirmation in your mirror, but train yourself to be more positive. Learn to look for the good in situations and people. Learn your own can do attitude. Believe in yourself. Learn how to smile. Practice positive responses and ways to offer your ideas. Avoid making insults and accusations. Don’t dwell on the negativity around you.
Feed your own positive energy into the room and it just might be infectious.