You can’t live a positive life around negative people.
Sadly, some people are so entrenched in seeing the negative side of things that they leave zero room for positive things to grow. People like this inhabit our families, work environments and social circles. It can be emotionally draining just being around them, and you must be careful because their negative attitudes and opinions are venomous and contagious. Negativity perpetuates itself, breeds dissatisfaction and clutters the mind. And when the mind is cluttered with negativity, happiness is hard to come by.
Ignore these people and move on from them when you must. Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough! Letting go of negative people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it just means you care about your own well-being. Because every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive.
Here are seven such people you might need to put on your ignore list:
1. The hopelessly hostile drama queen.
Some people love to stir up controversy and drama for no apparent reason. Don’t buy in to their propaganda. Stay out of other people’s drama and don’t needlessly create your own.
Don’t spew hostile words at someone who spews them at you. Keep your composure and replace the stink of confrontation with the fragrance of resolution. The louder the opposition wants to yell, and the more drama they want to stir, the calmer and more confidently you need to think and speak. Don’t let them get to you.
Be an example of a pure existence; ignore their outlandish antics and focus on kindness. Communicate and express yourself from a place of peace, from a place of love, with the best intentions. Use your voice for good – to inspire, to encourage, to educate, and to spread the notions of compassion and understanding.
When someone insists on foisting their hostility and drama on you, ignore them and walk away.
2. The person you have failed to please a hundred times before.
Some people are impossible to please; you will not be able to break through to them no matter what you do. Accept this harsh as a fact of life.
Throughout your lifetime some people will discredit you, disrespect you and treat you poorly for no apparent reason at all. Don’t consume yourself with trying to change them or win their approval. And don’t make any space in your heart to hate them. Simply walk away and let karma deal with the things they do, because any bit of time you spend on them will be wasted, and any bit of hate and aggravation in your heart will only hurt you. (Read Emotional Vampires.)
3. The naysayer who always dumps on your dreams.
Stop giving credit to those who discredit your dreams. These people are punishing your potential by slowly extinguishing your inner flame with their watered down vision of what you are capable of achieving.
If you give in and let their negativity convince you of who you are, their madness will wither you away. You will morph into who they say you are, rather than living honestly as yourself. In this way, these people will steal your life from you. You will lose track of where their opinion ends and your reality begins. Their fiction will become your life’s story.
What you’re capable of is not a function of what others think is possible for you. So look beyond their presumptions and mental limitations, and connect with your own best vision of what YOU are capable of and how YOUR life can be. Life, after all, is an open-ended journey, and 99% what you achieve comes directly from what you work to achieve on a daily basis.
4. The manipulator.
Beware of manipulators, or bullies, who try to use their negativity to intimidate and manipulate your thoughts. If you observe them from a distance, you will realize that these people are often overly self-referential. In other words, the people around them (YOU) fit into their plan simply based on how they can be used or manipulated for their own personal gain.
These people routinely prioritize their own feelings and needs over and above everyone else’s. They will demand that you bend over to help them, but if, heaven forbid, you need help, they will not be able to stand it.
Bottom line: Some people will say and do anything, thoughtlessly, to get others to do what they want them to do. Do not accept this behavior as normal. When someone tries to bully you, stand up for yourself and say, “Not so fast, buddy! Your delusion of superiority is your problem, not mine.” And if they refuse to reason with you, walk away without a fight. (Read Codependent No More.)
5. The stubborn one who insists you should be someone else.
In the long run, it’s always better to be disrespected for who you are than respected for who you are not. In fact, the only relationships that work well are the ones that make you a better person without changing you into someone other than yourself, and without preventing you from outgrowing the person you used to be.
Unfortunately, families and old friends often fail to recognize how you’ve changed and grown over the years. They also tend to label you in an unfair way based on who you used to be; and it’s easy to end up conforming to these labels because you remember when they were true. For example, “Oh, Marc always has his head in the clouds,” or “Angel never could focus on anything for very long.”
What’s important to remember is that you’re the only person in the world who knows what’s happening inside your head right now. People who don’t know you well may assume you’re someone else entirely. And people who think they know you well may have pigeonholed you – but you know there’s more to you than what they see.
When you ignore their opinions and decide to be who you are, instead of who they want you to be, you open yourself up to real love, real happiness, and real success. There is no need to put on a mask. There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not.
You don’t have control over what others think about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize their opinions. Leave them to their own judgments. Don’t feel threatened and don’t conform just to please them. Let people love you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be. Or let them walk away if they choose. They can’t harm you either way; it’s their understanding that is faulty, not yours. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” and “Relationships” chapters of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”)
6. The unforgiving friend who refuses to forgive you for your mistakes.
The most honorable thing is not to never make mistakes, but to admit to them when you do make them, and then to follow through and do your best to make the wrong things right.
Mistakes are part of growing. They are a natural part of every worthwhile endeavor.
If someone refuses to support you as you grow beyond your past mistakes, they are now the one that’s making a mistake. Holding on to the unchangeable past is a waste of energy and serves no purpose in creating a better day today. If someone continuously judges you by your past, holds it against you, and refuses to forgive you, you might have to repair your present and future by leaving them behind.
7. The inner critic.
Boom! Wake-up call! Yes, sadly, the inner critic is inside YOU.
Unrelenting self-criticism often goes hand in hand with unhappiness and anxiety, and it’s completely unjustified. There is no reason to be your own biggest critic – to harp on yourself for your shortcomings. All you really need is the courage to be yourself. Your real value is rooted in who you are, not who you aren’t.
The flaws you often see in yourself are only the qualities of your own individuality. There is something unique and special about you. You are different. You will never be as good as someone else, and they will never be as good as you. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, your fingerprints are different from every other being on Earth. You are meant to be different. You are here to express who you are and enjoy what you have at this very moment. When you accept this, there is no reason to compare yourself to someone or something you aren’t. There is nothing for the inner critic to complain about.
Every morning when you wake up, think of three things that are going well in YOUR life at the moment. As you fall asleep every night, fill your mind with an appreciation for all the small things that went well during the day. Examine the goodness that is YOUR life, and let your inner critic overhear the five-star reviews about YOU.
When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom, criticize you, and generally resist the truth about who you are, remember, they’re telling you their own sad story, not yours. They’re dumping their own doubts into the air. Ignore them.
If the person doing this is you (your inner critic), try giving up all the thoughts and contemplations that make you feel bad, or even just some of them, for the rest of the day. See how doing that changes your life. You don’t need these negative thoughts. All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.
What kind of negativity do you struggle to defend yourself against? How do you cope? Please leave a comment below and share your insights with us.
Photo by: Magic Cyril
I love all of these! I especially love #7 because we are all imperfectly perfect and as long as we sit with ourselves in the moment practicing mindfulness and then allow ourselves to let it go then all the rest we can deal with. I have become stronger as I have gotten older in expressing my limits, but I do find it hard for me to be around people with anxiety and not take it on myself. Sometimes you can’t walk away. Sometimes those people are your children, or your elder parents, or your business partner. It’s so important to balance toxicity with compassion with tolerance and limit setting. Expect the best, and when you fall or your friends/family fall practice compassion — but keep yourself healthy and know that you aren’t expected to take over others problems, but do what you can to be a friend.
“She was her own worst enemy” will be on my tombstone.
The friend who use to come to my house and stick her nose in her phone, after being asked beforehand to not do it, because I believed she actually wanted to visit and talk to me. Instead, I sat in silence right next to her. It was then, I realized, she was just wanting free wifi to play her games with.
Tao Tao says
I really love your article, it helped me figure out why I have an obsessive thinking and how to resolve this problem, although your article seems not having a direct relation to my trouble.
My Mother is her OWN worst negative critic and she tries to dump this onto me. Everyday, sometimes 5 phone calls one more depressing than the next. I finally had to tell her that I won’t speak with her any longer until she can be positive. It’s just draining.
dont talk with her everyday but only often (once a week) so when she talks with you she’ll wont think of all negative things to tell you, but only positive. The reason because she’s your mother and wants your well being and misses you and that’s the first thing in her mind to see how your doing. If you continue to talk with her more than not talking, then the negative comes out because all the positive things to say, talk about, confine in, etc… is gone. Keep negative people at a minimum no matter if blood relations.
I had one of the managers at my job complain about one minor mistake, she kept using it against me even months later. She wasn’t my manager, but i think her negative opinions about me impacted my ability to be liked by others. Yet her subordinates make mistakes all the time. I felt singled out and unable to get a promotion after putting in 2 years. So i got another job. Best thing i ever did was move on. No point in trying to advance in a company with people who use you and don’t appreciate the work that you do. I know my self worth. This is spot on.
Excellent article! Helped me realize how to pull myself out of a funk! And how lucky I am. Stay positive everyone! Live your life for yourself and not anyone else.
Colleen Marie Wills says
This article just reiterated what I already knew…. It is just good to know that this happens to many people, so people do not feel isolated and get depressed over other’s actions…. Good Stuff!!!
Just wanted to add my personal enigma.
Everything I do, even if it is ignoring people, seems to be in relationship to them. Relations grow and are part of who I am. Ignoring them may well be a means to an end though. In the end I hope I’ll see that the narrative about me was, is and will be all my own.
Almost everyday, i have to deal with some people who lie, or are hypocrites, or who unfairly criticize others(me included) or are argumentative. Instead of feeling low or depressed, i try to avoid them( also blocking them on my mobile phone !) Also, i maintain a diary & analyse myself & motivate myself to become better ….Equally important is my early morning walk when i connect with Nature which provides a healing touch….
I have struggled to defend against, first, becoming the mentally ill person my mother falsely rumored I was to extended family and my extended inlaw family. I knew for 20+ years that there was talk behind my back. I never knew who it was coming from directly to confront the rumor and squash it. However, since finding out, and attempting to resolve and repair relationships, the gossipers only doubled down on their negative opinions about me.
Now, I struggle with the acceptance that this happened, who it was that started the rumor, how the person will not take responsibility, will not even talk to me, and the isolation from all extended family that has occurred because of it. I call the way that people believed the rumor, stared at me at family functions, watching and perceiving me through that negative lens, social abuse. To destroy my reputation and put people wary and against me with lies and manipulation is abuse. This article helped me. It affirmed what I know I must do to be healthy, not letting this continue to affect my present, now. I’m very sure that I must detach from the opinions and labels that were placed on me, feel and move through the grief while moving on to what makes me happy and do what brings love and joy into my life and the lives of others. If anyone other than family had done this to me, I would have walked away 24 years ago, and never looked back. Because it was family, I first denied it was happening to me, then, denied it was affecting me, and then, even denied that it was abusive. Now, I know that it happened, it was affecting me, it was wrong, and there was and is nothing I can ever do to change anyone’s opinion because what they believe serves them well. They don’t want to change the label they put on me. It’s not my fault, and things don’t always happen for a reason we can define. Also, only a very hurting person would do something like this to anyone.
No. 6 resonates. The unforgiving friend who, not only won’t forgive you, but refuses to tell you what you have done,
I say move on!