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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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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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