Dr Akilah – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

The Natural Health and Holistic World According to Dr Akilah

Tag Archives: joy

10 Ways To Deal With Negative or Difficult People

by Lori Deschene

I love her to death, but it’s draining to talk to her.

Every time I call this friend of mine, I know what I’m in for: a half-hour rant about everything that’s difficult, miserable or unfair.

Sometimes she focuses on the people she feels have wronged her and other times she explores the general hopelessness of life. She never calls to see how I’m doing, and she rarely listens to what’s going on in my life for more than a minute before shifting the focus back to herself.

I tell myself I call because I care, but sometimes I wonder if I have ulterior motives–to pump up my ego offering good advice, or even to feel better about my own reality.

I’m no saint, and if there’s one thing I know well, we only do things repeatedly if we believe there’s something in it for us. Even if that something is just to feel needed.

I thought about this the other day when a reader wrote to me with an interesting question: “How do you offer compassion to someone who doesn’t seem to deserve it?”

While I believe everyone deserves compassion, I understand what we meant after reading more. She went on to describe her offensive, sexist, racist boss who emotionally exhausts everyone around him. He sounds a lot more hateful than my friend, who is, sadly, just terribly depressed.

But these people have one thing in common: boundless negative energy that ends up affecting everyone around them.

So today I started thinking about how we interact with negative or difficult people. People who seem chronically critical, belligerent, indignant, angry, or just plain rude.

When someone repeatedly drains everyone around them, how do you maintain a sense of compassion without getting sucked into their doom? And how do you act in a way that doesn’t reinforce their negativity–and maybe even helps them?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Resist the urge to judge or assume.

It’s hard to offer someone compassion when you assume you have them pegged. He’s a jerk. She’s a malcontent. He’s an–insert other choice noun. Even if it seems unlikely someone will wake up one day and act differently we have to remember it is possible.

When you think negative thoughts, it comes out in your body language. Someone prone to negativity may feel all too tempted to mirror that. Try coming at them with the positive mindset you wish they had. Expect the best in them. You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised.

2. Dig deeper, but stay out of the hole.

It’s always easier to offer someone compassion if you try to understand where they’re coming from. But that can’t completely justify bad behavior. If you show negative people you support their choice to behave badly, you give them no real incentive to make a change (which they may actually want deep down).

It may help to repeat this in your head when you deal with them: “I understand your pain. But I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.” This might help you approach them with both kindness and firmness so they don’t bring you down with them.

3. Maintain a positive boundary.

Some people might tell you to visualize a bright white light around you to maintain a positive space when other people enter it with negativity. This doesn’t actually work for me because I respond better to ideas in words than visualizations. So I tell myself this, “I can only control the positive space I create around myself.”

Then when I interact with this person, I try to do two things, in this order of importance:

  • Protect the positive space around me. When their negativity is too strong to protect it, I need to walk away.
  • Help them feel more positive, not act more positive–which is more likely to create the desired result.

4. Disarm their negativity, even if just for now.

This goes back to the ideas I mentioned above. I know my depressed friend will rant about life’s injustices as long as I let her. Part of me feels tempted to play amateur psychiatrist–get her talking, and then try to help her reframe situations into a more positive light.

Then I remind myself I can’t change her whole way of being in one phone call. She has to want that. I also can’t listen for hours on end, as I’ve done in the past. But I can listen compassionately for a short while and then help her focus on something positive right now, in this moment. I can ask about her upcoming birthday. I can remind her it’s a beautiful day for a walk. Don’t try to solve or fix them. Just aim to help them now.

5. Temper your emotional response.

Negative people often gravitate toward others who react strongly–people who easily offer compassionate or get outraged, or offended. I suspect this gives them a little light in the darkness of their inner world–a sense that they’re not floating alone in their own anger or sadness.

People remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. If you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing.

Once you’ve offered a compassionate ear for as long as you can, respond as calmly as possible with a simple line of fact. If you’re dealing with a rude or angry person, you may want to change the subject to something unrelated: “Dancing with the Stars is on tonight. Planning to watch it?”

6. Question what you’re getting out of it.

Like I mentioned above, we often get something out of relationships with negative people. Get real honest with yourself: have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel needed? Have you maintained the relationship so you can gossip about this person in a holier-than-thou way with others? Do you have some sort of stake in keeping the things the way they are?

Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control. You can’t make someone think, feel, or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for someone else. All you can control is whatyou think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself.

7. Remember the numbers.

Research shows that people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of stress and disease. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. If someone’s making life difficult for people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves.

What a sad reality. That someone has so much pain inside them they have to act out just to feel some sense of relief–even if that relief comes from getting a rise out of people. When you remember how much a difficult person is suffering, it’s easier to stay focused on minimizing negativity, as opposed to defending yourself.

8. Don’t take it personally–but know sometimes it is personal.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you should never take things personally when you deal with a negative person. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. You can’t write off everything someone says about you just because the person is insensitive or tactless. Even an abrasive person may have a valid point. Try to weigh their comments with a willingness to learn.

Accept that you don’t deserve the excessive emotions in someone’s tone, but weigh their ideas with a willingness to learn. Some of the most useful lessons I’ve learned came from people I wished weren’t right.

9. Act instead of just reacting.

Oftentimes we wait until someone gets angry or depressed before we try to buoy their spirits. If you know someone who seems to deal with difficult thoughts or feelings often (as demonstrated in their behavior) don’t wait for a situation to help them create positive feelings.

Give them a compliment for something they did well. Remind them of a moment when they were happy–as in “Remember when you scored that touchdown during the company picnic? That was awesome!” You’re more apt to want to boost them up when they haven’t brought you down. This may help mitigate that later, and also give them a little relief from their pain.

10. Maintain the right relationship based on reality as it is.

With my friend, I’m always wishing she could be more positive. I consistently put myself in situations where I feel bad because I want to help, because I want her to be happy. I’ve recently realized the best I can do is accept her as she is, let her know I believe in her ability to be happy, and then give her space to make the choice.

That means gently bringing our conversation to a close after I’ve made an effort to help. Or cutting short a night out if I’ve done all I can and it’s draining me. Hopefully she’ll want to change some day. Until then, all I can do is love her, while loving myself enough to take care of my needs. Which often means putting them first.

I’ve learned you can’t always saved the world. But you can make the world a better place by working on yourself–by becoming self-aware, tapping into your compassion, and protecting your positive space. You may even help negative people by fostering a sense of peace within yourself that their negativity can’t pierce.

www.healingpowerhour.com

Take Our Quiz: Are you happy?

Take our quiz to find out how happy you really are with your life

How happy Are You?

The importance of being happy

“Happiness” is one of the main goals we set for ourselves. And for good reason! Not only does having a sense of joy and purpose enrich us emotionally, it also has a huge impact on our physical health, our ability to be productive and even how long we’ll live.

Our happiness quiz looks at what experts agree are areas of your life that are strongly linked to your sense of joy; they include relationships, spirituality and resilience.

For each question, choose an answer that best reflects your current attitudes or thoughts.

What are the keys to happiness?

Research into the traits, attitudes and lifestyle choices most associated with emotional and psychological health. Scientists identify five key compon­ents to the “happiness” equation:

1. Resilience to life’s challenges.

2. A healthy, active social life.

3. The ability to prevent or manage depression.

4. Embracing some form of spirituality or higher purpose.

5. Skill at defusing everyday stressors.

While being in an ongoing relationship isn’t one of the five variables, experts have proven that successful couples tend to be happier overall, in large part because loving companionship greatly helps each partner succeed in the five areas above.

Romance and love: Part 1

Answer the following if you are in a relationship:

1a.  If our relationship were an object, it would be:
a. A chili pepper—spicy, lively, intense.
b. A quilt—warm, comforting.
c. A railway—fast-moving trains by day; side by side, deep in sleep at night.
d. A video game—push the button, a new battle starts.

2a. My partner and I could happily be stranded on a deserted island for:
a. Years—we really do enjoy each other’s company that much.
b. Weeks—we do love each other’s company, but in a short time we’d crave the other parts of our lives.
c. Days—just long enough to have some laughs and have a few good talks.
d. Hours—any longer and we’d be at each other’s throats.

3a. We have our own secret touches and phrases, and we use them:
a. Every day, sometimes even in public. 
b. Occasionally, and always in private.
c. Rarely—we did that stuff only at the beginning of our relationship.
d. Never—and never will.

4a. When I talk to good friends about my significant other, I am:
a. Enthusiastic, loving and supportive.
b. Kind, generous, occasionally teasing.
c. Rational and dispassionately descriptive.
d. Surprisingly critical and uncomplimentary.

5a. If I find myself attracted to another person, I would likely:

a. Shut it right down—my current relationship is the one!
b. Not take action, other than perhaps a brief fantasy about what might have occurred.
c. Flirt. It’s harmless, isn’t it?
d. Secretly pursue the relationship, wherever it goes.

Romance and love: Part 2

Answer these questions of you are not in a relationship:

1b. Love is:
a. A beautiful, natural, enriching part of life.
b. An oversimplified notion, but something to strive for.
c. A fairy tale concept that, on rare occasion, can happen.
d. A cruel hoax.

2b. If I need someone to talk with
:

a. I have plenty of friends or family members I can call in an instant.
b. I have a few friends in whom I can confide if I feel I really need it.
c. I think [fill in the blank] might be open to it, if I asked…
d. Open up to someone? It’s just not me.

3b. Past relationships that failed have taught me that:
a. I always emerge wiser and better-prepared for the next one.
b. Life is an unpredictable journey that takes you into all kinds of interesting situations.
c. I should date less, trust less and pre-screen more.
d. Most guys are creeps, and those who aren’t are already taken.

4b. My social life is:
a. Absolutely great! I love my friends, and I love my time off.
b. Mostly active and interesting, though somewhat predictable.
c. Slow. I get out some, but more often than not, the TV is on.
d. Blank. My couch is my best friend.

5b. If I’m home alone on a Saturday evening, I’ll be:

a. Thrilled at the prospect of relaxing and doing exactly what I want.
b. Fine with it. Just another ordinary evening.
c. Stir-crazy somewhere around 10 p.m.
d. Completely, thoroughly bummed out and frustrated with myself.

Spirituality and joy: Part 3

6. I feel that I have within me:
a. The power to really improve the world.
b. A general desire to do good things for those around me.
c. A good moral compass, but no great need to touch the world.
d. Zero desire to affect the world. Come on, it’s six billion people!

7. I would rate my spiritual life as:
a. Thoroughly fulfilling. I have strong spirit­ual beliefs that benefit me every day.
b. Passive but good. I have my beliefs, but they don’t play into my day-to-day life.
c. Wanting. I want more purpose to my life; I want to believe in something bigger.
d. Absent. I don’t believe in that stuff; I trust my brain to guide me.

8. I consider my work to be:

a. A wonderful gift that lets me do what I love every day.
b. A reasonable and fair arrangement that, most days, is enjoyable.
c. A duty I need to fulfill in order to enjoy the other parts of my life.
d. A form of torture I endure for the money.

9. The last time I had a pleasant, non-work conversation of more than 10 minutes was:
a. Today or yesterday.
b. Three to seven days ago.
c. Last week.
d. More than two weeks ago.

10. In a typical day, I laugh:

a. All the time. I easily find the light side of things, even in dark times.
b. Once every few hours. Life is busy, but I can lighten up easily enough.
c. Rarely. It takes something really funny to crack my demeanour.
d. Pretty much never. The way things are, what’s to laugh at?

Resilience: Part 4

11. I typically feel:
a. Well rested, happy and ready to get going.
b. I have a lot to do today. Take a deep breath, and let’s go!
c. I wish it were Saturday. Please let it be Saturday. Damn.
d. I’d do anything not to have to get up and go through another typical day.

12. When I go to sleep at night, I feel:
a. Proud and satisfied with what I did today.
b. Grateful that the work and activities are done for the day.
c. Drained and spent—emotionally, physically, spiritually.
d. Angry at the world, angry at myself.

13. If I took a poll among my friends or co-workers, they would rate my attitude as:

a. Happy, engaged, optimistic.
b. Stable, even-keeled, in control.
c. Worried, frustrated, pessimistic.
d. Angry, defeated, overwhelmed.

14. When something really wonderful happens, I think:
a. I absolutely deserve this, and there’s more to come.
b. I’ll enjoy it now, knowing that it might not happen again.
c. It only took, what, how many years?
d. From here, it’s straight downhill.

15. If a new job didn’t work out well, I would think:
a. Their loss! I’m great at what I do and someone else will benefit.
b. I’m disappointed, but I’m sure I’ll find something else.
c. This is really bad. How will I ever find another job?
d. I’m a failure.

Everyday stress: Part 5

16. If a stranger did something really rude to me, I would:
a. Brush it off; life’s too short to let strangers affect you.
b. Get a little perturbed, but an hour later I’d have moved on.
c. Get very perturbed, and still be talking about it tonight.
d. Tear into him or her; no one is rude to me and gets away with it!

17. If I do something embarrassing in public, I:

a. Laugh it off, maybe even make a joke. We all do silly things at times.
b. Get a little embarrassed, but recover quickly enough and move on.
c. Turn five shades of red, and quickly try to escape the scene.
d. End up in tears, thinking how foolish I am.

18. When I’m feeling really stressed, I:
a. Turn to prayer, meditation, music or relaxation to calm me.
b. Talk it out and learn to cope with it.
c. Get upset and need help to calm down.
d. Get angry and hurtful, to myself and to others.

19. I get angry:
a. Almost never. Life’s too short to waste on such negative energy.
b. Maybe once a week. It takes a serious provocation to get me started.
c. Often. There’s a lot of stupidity out there.
d. Regularly. I fall into anger naturally; it’s part of who I am.

20. I’m suddenly in a situation I really fear. My reaction is:
a. Take a deep breath and deal with it; here’s a chance to beat this fear.
b. I’ve got no choice but to get through this; it’ll be over soon.
c. I hate this, I hate this, I hate this. Hey, it’s over!
d. Run! Hide! Weep!

Scroll down the page to find out your score…………………………..

Scoring:

Give yourself 5 points for each (a) answer; 4 points for each (b) answer; 3 points for each (c) answer; and 1 point for each (d) answer. Now add up your scores; the lowest possible score is 20; the highest is 100. Here’s how to rate your score:

81-100: Congratulations!
In the areas that experts say matter most, you have got life well under control and have the key elements required for a real, deep sense of happiness.


61-80: You’re doing well,
but there are some areas in your life that are hurting your emotional well-being. Look where you answered (c) or (d), and ask yourself, is this approach really serving me?

41-60: At best, you are coping with life. At worst, you could be burned out, depressed or angry. The first step is to acknowledge that your emotional health is not good. The second step is to get help. Breaking through tough times is easier with guidance.

20-40: With numbers like these, you’re not merely having a tough time. Seek professional help. You deserve to get happiness into your life; it’s what our natural state should be.