How to Deal with Negative People Who Impact Our Happiness

Elimate the NegativeNegative people can greatly impact our happiness. Others’ negativity can bring us down – not for all of us, but for many of us. Our connection and interactions with others can and do have an impact on us. When those interactions are extremely negative, they can alter our entire mood, our outlook on life, how we feel about ourselves and our ability to feel happy. So how do we deal with negative people?

First and foremost, understand that someone’s negativity is a reflection of them and their own character; it’s also much more so about how they are feeling about life or about themselves. Rarely does someone’s negativity have something to do with us, unless we have offended, angered or hurt the person somehow.

Negativity comes in all shapes and sizes in the form of: angry outbursts, put-downs, fault finding and blaming; a total lack of support; constant complaining, pessimism or cynicism; and denial of our feelings and experiences. Negativity can come from a perfect stranger, our families, our partners, colleagues or friends. When it comes from those we love and are closest to, it can impact us that much more powerfully. However, even a stranger can negatively impact our mood.

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When someone lashes out at us in anger, we can take it personally, we can feel personally attacked and it can make us feel badly about ourselves. You may wonder, what did I do wrong, or why am I being treated this way? People who are constantly angry are very difficult to be around. With people who are constantly complaining, pessimistic or cynical, it can bring down our own mood and outlook. They also are very difficult people to be around. It can seem like no matter what you say to them, they refuse to cheer up or alter their own outlook on life, which can be very frustrating and draining.

When we are attacked, criticized, blamed or put down, it can cut into our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It can also put us on the defensive. And when we do not receive the support we are seeking, or when people tell us what we’re doing is wrong, we can feel discouraged, less enthused, more doubtful and the wind can be knocked out of our sails. When we are denied our own feelings and experiences, we can feel invalidated and suffer. For example, when someone tells you, “don’t feel that way”, or communicates, “the way you are feeling is wrong”, we can feel invalidated.

The key concept to embrace is that we don’t need to allow others to make us feel badly about ourselves or effect our outlook and mood. Our self-esteem and outlook do not need to depend on how others treat us or on how they view the world. Self-esteem and self-worth come from within; we do not need others’ approval or fair treatment to feel good about ourselves or about life. We need our own approval and good feelings, and that is all.

Nor do we need to feed into someone’s put-downs, criticisms, blame, anger, bitterness, etc., or take these things personally. Try to rise above it all. Imagine yourself being inside a large protective plastic bubble that cannot be penetrated. Someone can shoot arrows and darts at your bubble, but it cannot be burst. Someone’s negative words do not need to effect you and can fall on deaf ears. Delete and ignore the negative words, and hold onto all the positive words and encouragement that you receive from other people. We cannot change other people, but we can change how we react to them; we do not need to participate in someone’s negativity.

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With people who are frequently angry and are ranting on you, it is best to just let them rant for a little while, and then politely exit from the conversation or change the topic. Again, know that it is them, not you, and it is their problem, not yours. They are most likely angry or frustrated about something within themselves or their own lives. And again, you can use the image of the large bubble of protection around you, imagining that the bubble is protecting you completely from the other person’s negativity.

We also do not need support, approval or validation from others. We need to validate and support ourselves first and foremost. Have faith and confidence in yourself and in what you are doing. Of course it is nice to receive support and validation from those around us, and I encourage you to seek out those who will support you, but someone’s lack of support doesn’t need to stop or delay us from pursuing our goals or make us doubt ourselves. Typically it has something to do with their own fears and insecurities, and not you. Pursue your goals, dreams and interests, even if those around you are not supportive. You will feel happier and more independent by doing so; in fact, others will respect you for it. Know in your mind that what you are doing is best for you, and be happy and confident about it.

The one caveat is when a situation involves the necessity for financial support. In that case, you may need to do some convincing and use your salesmanship skills to gain the support you seek.

When others deny our feelings and experiences, we do not need to let that knock us down either. Again, here we need to provide ourselves with the validation we may be seeking from others. We can validate our own feelings. We have every right to our feelings, our experiences and perspectives. Know this, and allow yourself to feel, think and believe as you see and experience things in life.

The best way to deal with negative people is to limit our interactions with them, avoid them or eliminate them from our lives altogether. Alternatively, you can confront the person directly and draw limits and boundaries. You can say something along the lines of: “you’re being extremely negative right now, and it is bringing me down”; or “you’re being overly critical right now, and that is not helping me.” Sometimes people need a wake up call and are unaware of how their behavior and words may negatively impact another.

Again, understand that others’ negativity typically has nothing to do with you and is all about them and their own problems, insecurities and fears. When we understand this and when we distance ourselves emotionally and physically, it can have less of an impact on us and on our ability to be happy. Don’t let others’ negativity infect your life, your happiness or your ability to be the best person you can be.

Lastly, make sure to surround yourself with positive people who will support your dreams, goals, vision and interests.

So there are some tips on how to deal with negative people, and here’s to your happiness!

 

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