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How To Deal With Negative People

How To Deal With Negative People

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

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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