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How To Keep Your Mind Uncontaminated In A Negative World

How To Keep Your Mind Uncontaminated In A Negative World

It’s easy to take one look at the news (or the comments section on a YouTube video) and instantly lose hope for humanity.

We’re constantly hearing stories about terrorist attacks, murderers, and plain old dishonest individuals who seem hell-bent on tearing down any sort of progress being made across the world.

It’s difficult to know how to stay positive when it seems like we have so much to be feel down about.

It’s difficult – but it’s not impossible.

It’s up to you to improve your outlook on life, and on the world in general. In doing so, you’ll put yourself in a better position to make the world a better place.

Accept the Inevitable

You’re probably familiar with the Serenity Prayer, but how often do you actually live by it?

It takes energy to not get frustrated by the negative we see in the world. It can leave you exhausted if you pay too much attention to it.

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But, as the verses in the link above say, there are some things you can’t change. So why waste time and energy worrying about them?

There will always be evil, stubbornness, and stupidity in the world. Believing these things can be completely eradicated is foolish.

Instead of losing precious moments of your life worrying about the things that you have no power over, accept that you’re powerless – and move on.

You have much better things to do with your time.

Shift Your Focus

If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “There’s so much evil in this world,” you’re right.

But you’d also be right if you said “There’s so much good in this world.”

Both exist. It’s just much harder to see the good because the media, along with your Facebook feed, is constantly discussing the evil. Tragic headlines sell. You wouldn’t click a link that said “Absolutely nothing bad happened today!”, would you? (Although, now that I think about it, such a headline would be so incredible that it would be hard to resist…)

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Do yourself a favor: Every time you hear about some tragic event unfolding, go to the Good News Network and spend at least ten minutes reading the stories posted there.

The truth is, there are many more good things happening around us than bad. You just need to shift your focus and actively look for them.

Engage In Wholesome Hobbies

When you’re constantly hearing about all the awful things going on in the world, you might be tempted to grab a drink or reach to a similar vice to calm your nerves.

But deep down you know this will only make you feel better temporarily. Substance abuse is a cyclical problem: You feel like crap, so you take another drink, then you wake up, feel like crap, and grab another one. Meanwhile, the problems that got you to drink in the first place never actually went away.

Be productive with your time. Occupy your mind and body with hobbies that will improve your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Go for a bike ride. Learn a new song on guitar. Read a new book. Just like when using drugs or alcohol, you’ll take your mind off of what’s bothering you about the world – but you’ll be doing so in a much healthier way.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

While his sentiment had to do with success and ability, it also pertains to emotional outlook as well.

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If you’ve surrounded yourself with people who are constantly complaining about every little thing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the same.

On the other hand, if you surround yourself with people who are always looking on the bright side of things, you’d be the odd man out if you maintained a negative outlook on life.

Surround yourself with people who will build you up and keep you focused on doing the best you can every day of your life.

Practice Gratefulness

Along with changing your focus on worldly events, do so in your personal life, as well.

Everyone has something to complain about.

But, no matter how bad you think you have it, you have lots to be thankful for, too.

Heck, you’re probably reading this on a WiFi-enabled laptop while you sip coffee from a Starbucks cup. Do you know how many people will never get to experience that level of comfort?

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Once you’ve changed your focus to see all the good things in this world, go one step further: Be thankful for these things. Don’t take them for granted.

You’ll start to realize just how much there is in your life that you have to be grateful for.

Once You Understand How To Stay Positive, Be The Change

Okay, I know I said there are some things you need to accept because they’re much too great of a problem for one person to take on. But there are ways you can do your part to make the world a better place.

Be more giving of yourself. Forgive others for minor transgressions. Don’t take life so seriously.

One small act of kindness can start a chain reaction that, in some small way, will change the world for the better.

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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