When I received her email I knew I had a lot to say on the topic and realized what a great post this would be. This is an issue a lot of people face when they are trying to make their lives more positive and, to be honest, it's something I've faced too. It can be very, very difficult to cut close friends or family members completely out of your life even if they are extremely toxic, filling your space with negativity. Here are some tips for coping with negative people in your life that, much as you might like to, you cannot avoid.
How to Be Positive When Dealing with Negative People
Remember: you can control how you feel. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I use that quote when I'm around people who make me feel negative or upset and I change it around a little bit to say, "No one can make me feel [angry/negative/upset/etc.] without my consent." It can be so hard to realize this in the heat of an unpleasant encounter, but we always, always have the option to choose the mindset we want to have. No matter what other people say or do or even how they try to make us feel, we have the power to choose the way we look at situations and, importantly, how we react to them.
Value your own thoughts and emotions. The more you value yourself, your thoughts, and emotions, the less someone else can control and manipulate you to feel a certain way. Personally, the older I get and the more I learn about life and myself, the more confident I feel and the less I'm worried about what other people say/do/think. Yes, to some extent I care, but I try to focus on the opinions, words, and actions of those who have a positive effect on my life and worry little about those who bring negativity into my life.
Limit your interactions when possible. You have to do what you can to limit your interactions with the people that don't bring you happiness and positivity. Often there are events and functions you don't have to attend and you should avoid those when possible (but don't let those situations create battles between you and your other friends/family member...it's essential to be aware of others' feelings too). If there are things you absolutely can't get out of, you have to go into them with a positive attitude.
Worry only about yourself and what you're doing. When it comes down to it, the only person you have to worry about is YOU. You don't have to worry about what negative people say/think/do. You have to be happy with yourself and you cannot waste time worrying about them or letting them bring you down. No matter how much you might care about the other people in your life, the only person you can really control is yourself so, when faced with negative people, focus on what you can do to make your experience better. You cannot worry about them because, no matter how much you might want to, you might not be able to change their attitudes. Instead, focus on yourself.
Make the choice to be positive. Hard as it is sometimes, positivity is always an option. You can choose to let others bring you down or you can choose to bring yourself up. Every time you are with a negative person, you have the choice to view him/her in a positive light. It won't be easy, but it's always an option. The more I practice being positive on a daily basis and make it an active choice in my life, the easier I find that it is to cope with negative people and situations. I find myself much more willing to be positive in spite of others' negativity -- and you can do that too!
- Talk to an objective party. If you're seriously struggling with a situation in which someone's negativity is bringing you down, I'd highly recommend talking to a therapist (or, if that's not an option, a close friend that's removed from the situation). Being able to express yourself to a third party is really crucial in this situation because you don't want to take your feelings out on the negative person or others around you. Seeing a therapist has really helped me to deal with some of the people and issues in my life that I can't completely eliminate.
As anyone who has been in a situation where they are positive and others are negative knows, it can be very hard not to be dragged down into the pool of negativity. But, with the tips I've listed here, you should be able to tackle negative situations and people with a solid set of tools that will help you cope. And If those tips and tricks don't help you, here are some blog posts that might help you cope with negative people that you just can't eliminate from your life: