Offering an opinion, guidance, or the benefit of past experiences to friends and family is part of who we are. On any day, at any hour, someone is trying to “lend the voice of experience” as a help to someone else. Sometimes it’s requested and welcome; many times it’s not. No matter, we all have done it or experienced it at some point.
Being helpful and sharing is part of the human equation. Many times, those comments or reflections have a positive impact or a validation that may be needed at that moment. We all have our vulnerable moments and need those confirmations that we’re headed down the right path, that our dreams are viable, and our expectations reasonable.
What do you do, however, when someone is determined to interject a “Yes, but…” for every positive comment? No matter how positive the feedback, there’s an immediate “Yes, but…” response. It seems that little dark cloud is permanently etched over the person’s head! Perhaps it is.
Not everyone is optimistic or positive about life and all it offers. A recent quote summarizes this thinking quite well: “Negative people have a problem for every solution.” The author of this pronouncement is unknown, but the statement is certainly thought-provoking. It’s a spin on the widely known optimistic statement, “The glass is half full.” The pessimist sees the same glass as half-empty, and the opportunist just drinks the water and moves on. It’s all in the perception.
Negative energy can be draining; it can take the joy right out of the day, but only if you let it. When confronted with negativity, set your own boundaries and avoid being sucked into that black hole of despair.
Recognize the signs of negativity around you. Listen to your feelings. Do you leave an encounter feeling that your energy is drained, that you’ve been on-guard during the interaction, or that the vibe is just “off”? Those are signals to notice and be aware of taking on someone else’s issues.
Remember the adage that the squeaky wheel gets greased? The same can be said for negativity. Just watch the evening news. What are the lead stories? Where are the upbeat, positive stories positioned? You got it—lead with negative and end on a positive note. The more dramatic the story, the more likely it is to lead off.
Ways to Counter Negativity:
Set personal boundaries. Rather than eliminating negatively minded family and friends, just prepare yourself for their visit. Listen, but avoid buying into the negative. It’s their journey, not yours.
Stay positive. Pollyanna had the right idea, look for the good; it’s there. Ask to hear about something good that happened to that friend or family member. It’s possible they don’t realize how negative their thoughts have become.
Strive to look for something positive every day.
Smile. Most people will smile back. Test it out for yourself.
Use the manners we were taught as kids. “Please” and “Thank you” go a long way.
Take the high road. Perhaps you’re on that high road alone sometimes, but avoiding the gutters and ditches that you didn’t create is a better road than being a passenger on a negative trip.
Let go. Similar to taking the high road, just letting go of someone else’s drama, dilemma or problem is a weight off your shoulders. We all need reminding that we can’t fix everything.
Don’t take it personally if someone is in a negative mood. Be a ray of sunshine for them.
So, look on the bright side, have a good day, smile and the world smiles with you!