Dealing with negative people is a fact of life, you will never be able to escape it. Have you ever had a day where it seemed like everyone was barking at you or was in a bad mood? Or maybe you have a boss or coworker who always seems to be in a really negative space? When placed in those situations it’s hard to keep your spirits up, isn’t it? I totally know how you feel.
I work at a very dysfunctional chiropractic clinic, and it is very draining—physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually—the said dysfunction is internal and external, so I get it from the front and back end. The doctor I work for is always in a terrible mood, and I know you’re probably thinking, “Come on Shaniece, nobody can be in a bad mood all the time”. Oh, but they can be. And I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, but it really is too much to deal with. He’s rude to management, he’s rude to patients, and last week he became belligerent and aggressive towards me. This horribly timed blow-up came at the worst possible moment, my grandfather just passed and I’m not coping with it too well. My boss knew this but that didn’t stop him from acting like a complete donkey. So saying that I’m emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually drained would be more than fair.
On top of the normal day-to-day hardships of working with people (I love my patients, they’re the absolute best) and they’re different personalities, quirks and sometimes inflated egos, I have to deal with a middle-aged man that behaves like a two year old. What gives, man?! How could I possibly deal with all of that, the death of my grandpa, searching feverishly for a new place, and other unnecessary negativity? Firstly, I decided to take back control of my energy and my emotions; a person, group of people, or situation cannot take you out of your element without your permission. Then I implemented the following, and you can do the same:
1. Arm yourself with positives.
Load up with whatever positives you can before you tackle a new week. Watch funny movies or Youtube clips, read an inspirational article or two, have a chill day with your friends and put your phone in Airplane Mode, do whatever you need to do in order to get into a positive place. Enrich your life with as much positivity as you can, because everyday is an opportunity for you to be robbed of it. Your job, unexpected emergencies, family hardships and drama, traffic and morning breath from that one coworker who cannot seem to grasp the concept of personal space can all take a toll on you if you’re not prepared.
I like to pray before I go to work (if that’s not your thing fine, but we’re #TeamJesus over here). “Lord, please allow me to have a great and productive day, allow me to get what needs to be done taken care of in a timely manner, give me the strength to do it, joy to keep me pushing forward…and please don’t allow me to go to jail for choking someone. Amen” I’m just being real but, on a more serious note, I find writing to be so therapeutic; I like to listen to music while I write, I’m actually doing that right now. Classical music has always allowed me to keep a calm demeanor and I focus way more when I’m listening to it. Find whatever positive thing you can and engage in it when you encounter negativity, it’ll become your lifeline.
2. Choose not to mirror others.
Vibes are contagious, and sometimes others’ negative vibes subconsciously influence us. If someone’s rude to you, your defenses go up, and you dish out what’s been served to you. It’s not your fault, you’re human. We all unknowingly become trapped and mirror the negative energy thrown at us to a tee. If someone’s being negative toward you, and you notice it’s influencing for the worst, make a conscious effort to get back in control.
Instead of mirroring their energy, try to help them mirror yours. If they raise their voice, speak calmly. If they’re rude, be and stay polite. That’s how you play it, never react to their negative behavior. Maintain your energy, and stay the course no matter what. You’ll know you’ve got them when they start matching your tone. I once had a patient that, once I said something that he didn’t want to hear, started yelling and hurling obscenities at me. I paused the conversation, told him whatever he had to say could be relayed without yelling, and that I was being respectful to him and I expected him to do the same for me. He immediately changed his tone and apologized for his behavior. After that he was able to express his frustrations in a calmer way and I was able to help him. Problem solved. Always remember your tone has everything to do what message you’re trying to relay, try to keep it as neutral as possible.
3. Allow others to talk your ear off without ruffling your feathers.
Let me offer you this disclaimer before I make my next point: It is not healthy to always listen to someone vent. You have to set boundaries, because letting people treat you like a punching bag is not the move; but when you’re dealing with customers or clients, you can’t exactly ignore them. In those cases just let them vent their frustrations without taking it personally, most of the time it’s the situation that’s making them angry and not you individually. If they are angry with you (perhaps you unknowingly made an error) put your ego to the side, be honest about it, apologize, and move forward. Create the least amount of friction as possible by shifting the negativity away from you. The same can be done for non-customer interactions, like for someone you actually know. I can honestly say when I sit and let someone vent about why they’re angry I find out exactly what the issue is; this isn’t always easy (because I can be a prideful moth…person sometimes) but it’s definitely doable. Knowing what caused the miscommunication is the most logical and unbelievably simple way to solve it. This is where thick skin becomes a valuable commodity, so develop some.
4. Kindly compliment others whom you dislike.
Key word kindly: meaning without malice, sarcasm or shade. When you do find yourself disagreeing with someone, make your best effort to find a point they came up with that you actually agree with. Then genuinely take the time to compliment them for their idea. Craziest thing to do during a disagreement but I promise it works. Doing this subconsciously creates a small bond, and it sets a foundation that you can build on for a better relationship in the future. I know it sounds sickeningly Kumbaya, but it’s always better to leave a conversation on a good note rather than leaving behind seeds of negativity.
5. Treat yourself when you feel the negativity getting to you.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be a new pair of shoes or jewelry, treating yourself could be something as simple as your favorite food or a great book your friend keeps raving about and a glass of wine. Whatever you choose will be the perfect distraction to help shift your mindset and lift your spirits when you’re down. I just treated myself to an enchilada, a taco, and a quick run through my iTunes and I feel a lot better. You should reward yourself, even a small one, at the end of the day or week. This gives you something mentally positive to hold onto and it’ll help you get through a tough time.
Your positive actions make you a leader, not a follower.
Negative people exist, you can’t really change that; and even positive people can succumb to negativity on a bad day. But you can definitely change how you deal with their behavior, you just have to allow yourself to. You have to change how you react. Is it easy? That my dear is solely up to you, you control how difficult or how smoothly this transition goes (and no one else, remember that). At the very core of it’s existence, negativity is how you perceive it. You can choose to stay positive no matter what negative people throw your way, and you could even change their moods in the process. In the end, it all benefits you and gets you one step closer to being a more whole and grounded person. Take control of your life, lead it where you want it to go. Don’t let others dictate how you should feel, who made them the boss of you anyway?
Stay beautiful loves ❤