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How To Appreciate the Negative People In Our Lives

How To Appreciate the Negative People In Our Lives

We all have negative people in our lives. While we may or may not be able to do anything about their presence, we CAN work with our minds around them, and we might even learn to appreciate what they have to teach us.

Here are some things to remember when dealing with our rascals.

1. Remember that it’s not your job to like everyone.

First of all, give yourself a break. There are more than seven billion people on the planet, and it’s simply not possible for us to love every other person in the world. It’s okay not to like someone.

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2. Remember that someone DOES love that rascal, even if it’s not you.

Believe it or not, there really IS at least one other person, of the same seven billion on the planet, who likes this awful person. (Really? Ick! I want my money back!)

3. Remember that they show us our shortcomings.

Ugh, you mean we’re like THEM in some way? No way! Yeah, it makes me want to squirm, too, but we’re all moving through the same soup of subatomic mirrors. This means that if negative people show up in our lives, we are offering something unpleasant to all those little mirrors. The good news is, we can use this opportunity to figure out what we’re offering—and then stop!

4. Remember to look for the root of the problem.

Think about why the universal mirrors might have brought this rascal into your life, and why the mirrors might have brought you into theirs. If this person is judgmental, do you detest being judged? If they are manipulative, do you hate being manipulated? If they are showoffs, could you have a bit of a jealous streak?

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5. Remember that they inspire us not to be like them.

There’s nothing like negative people to motivate us into being better, is there?

6. Remember that these negative people probably want to get away from you as much as you want to get away from them.

But remember the mirror thing? You’re actually keeping them in your experience by paying attention to them. So stop holding the poor things prisoner with your complaining and hatred. Set them free!

7. Remember to create boundaries.

Setting “boundaries,” as we usually think of them, doesn’t really work all that well. When you tell your children, “don’t do that,” don’t you just KNOW they’re waiting until your back is turned?

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Instead, think of “boundaries” as setting boundaries on what you pay attention to. Your attention is the same as your respect, and you can “set a boundary” around that person by deciding that they don’t deserve your respect, and therefore your attention. It’s sort of like encasing them in Teflon. You can think about them, but you can also choose whether or not your thoughts actually stick to them.

8. Remember to focus on common ground.

If you see or have to work with an irritating person on a regular basis, try using a project you’re working on or something you have in common, such as sports, as a way to deflect your attention away from the stuff that gets under your skin. “So, what about those Broncos?”

9. Remember to focus on stuff we like.

Think about something that you like about this rascal. Yes, it really is possible to find SOMETHING to like—try harder. What about that scarf they’re wearing? Or the car that they drive? How about their kids—even though their kids are probably some of those crazy people who actually LIKE them. But are their kids nice?

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10. Remember to reach for compassion.

Negative people weren’t always the way they are now. Try imagining them as a baby, just as innocent and helpless as we all were when we first came into this world. What happened to them? Could it be possible that something similar happened to you?

Conclusion:

The thing about the negative people in our lives is that, like any other bad experience that is hard to ignore, they force us to grow by making it uncomfortable to stay where we are. We can then either keep ourselves in our discomfort by complaining about the situation and hoping that someone comes to our rescue, or we can allow ourselves to move into the new comfort zone by letting go.

This is the rascal’s true gift to us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtE7N5qq5w8

Featured photo credit: Hate & Anger/Timothy Vogel via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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