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Who’s that person in your life… The one who makes your heart sink when you see their name pop up on your phone – or whose response to your latest idea or project is bound to deflate you? Negative people can be really challenging to handle – so today I want to share 5 quick ways to reframe a relationship that’s bringing you down.
Let’s start with something that you need to get out of the way first.
Every now and again I hear a different version of the same advice I’ve heard a lot over the years. ‘Cut out negative people!’ ‘Don’t allow negative people to colour your life!’ ‘Surround yourself with positive people only!’.
This is all good advice. If we eliminate negative influences chances are that the life we want will unfold in a more positive direction.
But what if you can’t just ‘cut them out’?
What if you have a negative boss but you like your job? What if it’s your neighbour, but you don’t want to move house? What if it’s your mother, and you’re definitely not at a point where you want to be completely estranged?
Yes, we need to create space for positive change but sometimes we have to do that by shifting our own mindset.
And if our only way to handle challenging people is to avoid them completely, we’re cutting ourselves off from interactions that might really have something to teach us.
This a great chance for us to practice compassion, patience and unconditional love!
Here are five ways to get started.
1. Use the Women’s PowerTypes to connect more effectively
If you haven’t come across the Women’s PowerTypes before, you can read more about them here. Often, a quick check in with how you’re showing up in a relationship can help you see what needs to be shifted.
- Perhaps you’re taking on a “Mothering” role for a friend, when actually stepping into Queen would help you set boundaries that would empower both of you.
- Have you been sharing your intuitive “Sorceress” instincts with a partner, who’s more powerfully engaged with through magnetic Lover?
- Or maybe your direct report at work always clashes with you when you’re in “Queenly” strategy modeWhat would be different if you got into action as Warrioress before asking for their input on your project?
You could also use the PowerTypes to help you release any pent up emotion following difficult interactions.
For example, if conversations with your sister often leave you tense, you might want to consciously spend some time in Lover to fill your energy back up afterwards. If you’re stuck, ask for help in the BeOne community. We love to help each other connect to these leadership archetypes more powerfully.
2. Don’t go there.
Some people have a hard time recognising which comments are supportive and which are critical. If there’s a particular area of my life I don’t like discussing with someone I will request that we don’t discuss it at all.
Maybe you could make a mental note that you won’t bring up your career with your hyper-critical Dad, or that work conversations should steer clear of relationships.
It’s OK to have boundaries around topics, and to actively choose not to engage in conversation around subjects that always lead to hurt.
3. Be understanding and compassionate.
Especially in today’s fast-paced, unpredictable world, many of us are carrying a heavy emotional burden that can lead unthinking responses. Everybody has their own struggles. We’re all just one of many humans trying to do the best that we can. The chances are that the people we feel are hurting us have been badly hurt themselves.
This is particularly important to remember on social media, when conversations can flare up and misunderstandings are rife. Often an offline conversation is a kinder way to check in with them and resolve any lingering upset.
4. Accept them.
Sometimes we’re challenged by a desire to “fix” those we care about. When someone you love is in a repeated pattern, and you feel as though the change they need to make is clear, it can be tough to bite your tongue.
In these situations, I tell myself it’s not my job to heal them. I do not have the power to change them. If they are ever going to change they will have to do so of their own accord. The only person I am able to change is me.
Which leads me to point 5…
5. If all else fails… gather the data!
If you really can’t shift the relationship, you can at least change your experience of it. An empowering way to do that is to treat the interactions as data. So get curious. What is is specifically that “triggers” you when it comes to this person? Does that remind you of an experience in childhood, a particularly tender area of your life, or a need that’s not currently being met?
Whenever you feel emotions rising, make a mental note to log away what you’re learning.
Journal on it, use it as the basis for a coaching conversation, or if you’re part of Living the Change bring it to a group call.
Sometimes, it’s the most frustrating people in our lives who are our greatest teachers.
Loving the negative people… it’s possible!
So if you can’t cut negative people out of your life you can approach them from a place of love. It sounds impossible but try it. The toxic relationship will become charged with positive energy.
And along the way you might learn things about yourself you might never have known.
Life is too short to give critical and negative people the power to influence our direction. Cherish your dreams, learn from your relationships, and don’t let anyone stop you or slow you down.
How about you?
How do you deal with negative people? Are there some people in your life you feel you ought to cut out but can’t? Could you try changing your reaction? Let us know in the comments…
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