Anyone who has accomplished anything in this world has had to deal with negative people. No matter what you set out to accomplish, the very fact of having a goal is going to bring out negativity in someone somewhere. Whether you’re going to art school or becoming a lawyer, you’ll hear someone say something negative about what you’re trying to do. You may even have someone actively sabotage your efforts when you’re at your weakest.
Whether it’s a roommate bringing home a pizza and ice cream when you’re on day 5 of a new diet or perhaps a parent refusing to support a career decision, you’ll eventually have to deal with negative people in your life. They are, in fact, a part of life. Here’s how to look at negative people as a gift rather than an annoyance.
Understand the fear.
There’s a reason why negative people are unsupportive, and it’s likely fear based. The roommate or spouse sabotaging your diet might be afraid of how your relationship will change if you become one of those healthy people. What does that say about them in comparison? Unsupportive parents might have their own fears about what you’re trying to accomplish, and they want to protect you from disappointment. Sometimes people have a fear that stops them from being successful themselves. As you start creating success yourself, they have to face their own fears. And sometimes it is easier to try to control you and knock down your success than it is for them to deal with their own blocks and fears.
When we can see someone else’s negativity as connected to their own fears and blocks, it makes it a little easier to accept them as they are. It doesn’t it make their negativity right or good, but it allows us to rise above it and see it for what it really is. And, it lessons the impact of the negativity when you can clearly see the motivation behind it.
Deepen your commitment.
A negative person gives you an opportunity to deepen your commitment to your dream. If you’re fully committed, it’s easier to brush off negativity and see it clearly. When you’re not wholly committed to a project or an idea, however, negative people can make you doubt yourself. They may cause you to waver. However, if you approach it from a place of commitment, a negative person can actually be an asset.
Say for example you’re going to start a new business selling a product you really like. A negative person tells you that there are so many people selling that product, you’re never going to be able to make money doing it. And maybe they’re partially right. Maybe the market is truly saturated, and you’ve got an uphill battle. Remind yourself WHY you decided to start the business. Remember why you love the product. And in deepening your commitment, you deepen your focus and start creating a differentiation in your mind. So yes, the market might be saturated. However, what about your passion makes you different?
No matter how much competition exists, you can always set yourself apart. Think about those who have succeeded in highly competitive environments and claim that experience for yourself.
Do your research.
If you’re encountering negativity, find evidence to refute their beliefs if you don’t have it already. Even if your dream is to become the next big pop star and the evidence of probability is against you, find stories of pop stars that were successful and read them. Watch videos on how pop stars became successful. There will always be evidence to support any belief you choose to magnify. Find the evidence that supports what you want to create, and use it to convince yourself they’re wrong. It might not make sense to try to convince the negative person, especially if their mind is made up. After all, it’s your thoughts and beliefs that will create your experience, not the negative person’s.
Take control of your thoughts.
Negative people have the power of being somewhat like the fire that blacksmiths use to shape iron. When you’re in the fire of negativity, you and your project become malleable like the iron. If you stay in the fire too long, the iron becomes a pile of goo. But just a little fire allows you to shape your thoughts about yourself and your project in creative ways. Your thoughts create your experience of your reality, so if you take control of your thoughts when you’re in the fire, get yourself out of the fire and reshape your thoughts into something that helps you, the fire has been of benefit. But don’t let the negative person be the blacksmith. It’s your life, your mind, your thoughts, and your project.
Deepen your attention where it matters.
Your attention is your greatest asset. What you give attention to magnifies. If you give too much attention to negative people, their words and actions magnify. Deepen your attention on what you would like to magnify, the success of your venture. Consciously make a decision to magnify what you want, and minify what you do not want. If you give your attention to doubts, they magnify. If you give your attention to possibilities, those magnify.
Negative people, if given attention and focus, can often take us off plan and take us away from the things we’re trying to create. The best way to move beyond negative people is to act quickly. Nothing silences negative people like action and success. Action also helps you get out of your mind, where the worrying ego-based thought processes might actually entertain a negative thought.
You’ll never find negative people inside. When you meditate, you silence the monkey mind that loves mulling about with worries and negative what-ifs. When you meditate, you find the still calmness within where everything is possible, all ideas are valid, and dreams are incubated. The greater your connection to your inner self, the less negative people can sway you from your dreams. Go for walks, focus on the possibilities, and immerse yourself in the positive creative energy of all that you are. There is no amount of negativity that can overcome who you really are.
If a negative person is seriously undermining your ability to get a project done, stay on your diet, or do what you really want to do, it’s okay to establish boundaries. It’s okay to say, “Hey, this is not okay.” It’s okay to tell your roommate to eat pizza at restaurants, and it’s even okay to tell your parents that art school is your final decision. And if your negative friend or family member doesn’t wake up to what they’re doing to you, it’s okay to say, “I love you, but I need some space here.” After all, if they’re not in support of your dream, do you really need them in your life? Say no thank you, and mean it.
Ultimately, the key to making negative people your cheerleader is to be successful despite others’ negativity. The more you commit to your idea, dream or project, the more successful you’ll be. And then they’ll be the first person to say, I knew her when…