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This Artist Sits With Strangers, Then Sheds Tears

This Artist Sits With Strangers, Then Sheds Tears

Marina and Ulay’s intense 12 year love affair and artistic working relationship began in the 70s, and ended with a walk along the Great Wall of China in 1988. Each started from each end, then met in the middle for a last embrace, then parted. It was their final piece of artistic performance work together, poignant and dramatic, and the last time they had seen each other.

More than 20 years later. artist Marina Abramović shared one minute of silence with successive strangers as part of her work, The artist is present, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She was not aware that one of the apparent strangers would be Ulay. He waits in line. When his turn arrives he approaches the table a little nervously and sits. Marina looks up and the recognition on her face is instant. They smile slightly awkwardly at each other. The emotion builds over the minute they share, watching each other, remembering. They clutch each other’s hands and Marina sheds tears openly while Ulay struggles to keep his emotions more contained.

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At the end of the minute he leaves. She wipes her tears, smooths her hair, and takes a few moments, attempting to regain her composure, ready for the next stranger to arrive and sit.

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It is impossible to watch this video and not feel the powerful emotions that they feel. The strength of love that has carried over the years is apparent in their eyes. We are left wondering if they will continue seeing each other again afterwards, and yet sensing that they probably will not. It feels like both a privilege and an invasion to share this moment with them, and forces us to reflect upon and value our own loves, past and present.

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Featured photo credit: Marina Abramović, The Artist Is Present/Andrew Russeth via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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