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How To Deal With Negative People

How To Deal With Negative People
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Negative people are everywhere, although hopefully you’re not one of them. Most people prefer the idea of a calm life where problems are solved without conflict but In reality, that’s a little bit difficult to obtain. However, Daisa Catalina has some methods, a system even, that you can you to deal with the negative people you are faced with:

There are moments in our lives when we invariably end up confronting other people’s negativity. While conflicts are a natural part of our relationships, getting caught in negativity can sometimes ruin our best days. So how can we avoid falling into the trap of being put down by negative people?

This is a question that has been on my mind since childhood. I grew up in a loving family. But like most families, mine had its issues too. So the loving environment was occasionally disturbed by some pretty nasty conflicts. Most of the time, everything was latent. Still, negativity could be felt and because I was caught somewhere in the middle and never actually took sides, I was used as a means of venting frustration. Others would come to me and tell me their side of the story. I would simply listen, though in my mind it was just pointless drama which hurt and felt bad. Sadly, I couldn’t do much to change things.

So I had to develop a strategy to help me cope with the situation. In time, through trial and error, I managed to build a system that helped me avoid being dragged down by negativity. It’s been tested over and over again and works whenever I use it. Please note that this technique can be also applied effectively when dealing with difficult clients.

1. Avoid Confrontations When Emotions Are Intense

This is a general rule of successful conflict management. It’s actually what my folks didn’t do – they usually bottled up all sorts of unsaid things and acted on their emotions, when these reached a high intensity. The result was a mini-explosion, which could have been avoided if they decided to vent first and then discuss the issue.

Why should you do this?

The reason is simple. When your emotions are at peak they take you over. You stop thinking rationally and you lose your mental-emotional balance. You literally become your emotion and everything you say and do is a result of that. From that one-sided perspective you cannot make good decisions nor take proper action.

So vent your emotions first and proceed into conflict solving and solution finding afterwards.

How do you vent your emotions effectively?

I personally love to journal through them and I believe this is the best approach you can take. Journaling helps you acknowledge your feelings, which is very important for your sense of well-being. It also directs your focus and helps you go into the problem solving part too.

A second approach would be taking a walk through the park. Connecting with nature is a great way to release negativity. The physical activity will help your body release endorphins, which will give you a good feeling. Working out has similar effects too.

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And while you can take control over your own emotional response in a conflict situation, there’s always at least one other person involved. They may not have taken the time to vent out their negativity and are ready to throw it at you.

If you find yourself in such a situation, proceed with the next steps.

2. Stay Aware

When we’re confronted with strong emotions in someone else, something in us reacts as well. Our bodies get into fight or flight mode and we feel the urge to retaliate or withdraw.

The key is to become aware of these emotions, notice and acknowledge them. Denying what we feel always backfires. The easiest way to stay aware is to keep the focus on the body and the breath.

I used to make this mistake in the past. I kept repeating to myself that I am calm and I tried to calm myself down in various ways, but all failed miserably. It was only when I started acknowledging and feeling my anger, that improvements started showing.

When you stay aware, you are able to feel and notice every emotion you have, but you also have the power to look at them as an observer. You can shift from “I am angry” to “I’m feeling anger”, which makes a huge difference.

Being angry means you are one with anger. Feeling the anger means it can freely flow through you and you can consciously choose to respond from an empowered state. You just have anger, but you are not anger anymore. That makes it easier for you to let go of it, just as if you were letting go of something you hold in your hands.

I have given the above example with anger because it’s the most common situation, but it can be applied to all sorts of emotions, like shame, guilt, resentment, etc.

3. Acknowledge The Other Person’s Feelings

I’ve noticed that a conflict gets disarmed really fast whenever I agree with the other person. By agreeing, there’s virtually no more room for a confrontation, so the intensity of the other person’s emotion drops considerably.

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It’s a brilliant way to stop those people who use you as an outlet to vent their frustration or negativity. It spares you a lot of time and nerves.

What do you do when you really don’t agree with the other person?

Well, that’s the most common situation and I have a solution for that too. What you can do is agree with their feelings, not their opinions.

If they say they feel outraged because this and that happened, you can simply say “Yes, I can understand how that made you feel outraged”.

That’s it!

Truth is, they did feel outraged and your agreeing to that fact is not a lie. Of course, you may not have felt outraged in a similar situation, but that’s irrelevant.

Most misunderstandings occur because we expect others to react like we do and we hold ourselves as standards. But we’re prone to being wrong, because every individual has a different personal history and reacts in their own way.

4. Discover The Other Person’s Good Intention

Everyone enters a conflict with a good intention for themselves. That intention may be setting boundaries, freeing up repressed energy, getting more comfort, expressing themselves, etc.

The bottom line is that they get into the conflict with the expectation to get something good in the end, even if it’s just a good feeling.

These positive intentions underlie all our behaviors. But sometimes we choose destructive behaviors to fulfill such positive intentions.

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In managing conflicts, it’s wise to look beneath the surface to understand what the positive intention of the other person is and respond to that. Sometimes their behavior may hurt us. But as long as we are aware that they have a good intention and we identify it, then we can act in an empowered manner and with more kindness towards them.

Sometimes it’s difficult to identify the positive intention. And at other times we may be prone to making false assumptions, which lead us on a wrong path.

The easiest way to find out what a person really wants is to simply ask them. It’s usually something specific, so the answer shouldn’t be hard to obtain.

You can say something like: “What do you actually want from this? And what good will it bring you?”. You may want to dig a little deeper too at times, if the real intention isn’t expressed from the beginning.

Having discovered the positive intention, you can proceed with problem solving.

5. Let Go Of Being Right

I know this is a really tough one and it’s much easier said than done. But it’s an essential step.

So far I have explained how you can disarm someone’s negative emotions. The second part of solving a conflict is finding solutions together with the other person.

So the discussion shouldn’t be about who is right or who is wrong. It should be about what can be done to creatively find a common ground and a proper way to solve the issues.

Blaming and holding on to the need of being right will only amplify negativity.

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The truth lies somewhere in the middle. If you insist on being right and having things your way, you’ll recreate negativity and conflict in the future. Think about the long-term effects on the relationship and focus on finding solutions.

6. Whatever Happens, Know You Did Your Best

There may be times when you apply all the steps above and you still don’t get the expected results.

This is likely to happen when you work with lots of people and do some sort of customer service work. I know from my own experience in customer service, that some people just won’t cooperate, no matter what. You can’t please everyone, even if you strive to do your best all the time.

In the beginning, I used to feel bad about such situations. I knew how I did everything I could to help some customers and they were still unhappy. But then I understood that it was about them, not about me. I really did all I was capable of doing.

So even if you won’t reach your desired outcome, give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself for having done your best. As long as you strive to do your best, your conscience can be clean. Sometimes it’s really just about the other person and you don’t have control over their reactions and feelings.

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way and shifting the mindset from “I wasn’t able to solve this” to “I really did my best in this situation” has helped me bounce off the negativity of others very quickly.

This approach also helped me avoid getting emotionally abused by others. I acknowledged my limits and stopped trying to do everything to please everyone. I did my best as long as it was within the confined limits. If others didn’t respond well to that, I had the satisfaction of having done absolutely everything in my powers, while also keeping my integrity.

Daisa is a Personal Development Junkie keen on bringing out the Awesomeness in people. She blogs at BecauseICanDoIt.com, inspiring others to reach their highest potential, live with passion and become unstoppable.

How To Avoid Being Put Down By Negative People | Because I Can Do It

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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