One of the principles of achievement is to surround yourself with positive people, people who support your dreams and believe in possibilities, and stay away from negative folks. This is great advice, but given your current family members and job situation, it may not be practical.
What do you do when physical proximity, shared job responsibilities or family relationships force you into contact with a doom-and-gloom personality? Is there a way to continue to march cheerfully and determinedly towards your goals? Whether a negative person attacks you directly by ridiculing your hopes, “I don’t know anyone who has made it as a singer at your age” or simply quelches your joy by stomping into the room and radiating ill-will, you can and should learn how to resuscitate your own positive frame-of-mind.
You need to find some negativity-venom antidote. Many people walk through life with a chip on their shoulder and resentment in their heart, attacking anyone bold enough to suggest that the world is a wonderful place. Just like snake venom that is normally deadly can be countered with the correct antidote or antivenom, so too can depressing people be countered by quickly injecting other ingredients into your situation. Here are some negativity antidotes to consider:
Listening to Music: For me, classical music brings back a peaceful, purposeful state of mind. Others might like more popular music. Whatever your taste, music is a powerful mood-altering medicine. Carry an iPod or keep your favorite tunes on your laptop, along with small headphones and try this auditory antidote.
Visiting a Favorite Location: Walking by water (beach, lake or stream) often can steady nerves. Alternatively, climbing high enough to see city skylines or mountain overlooks can literally change your perspective and with it your frame of mind. If you can’t get there in person, try to conjure up a mental picture of a place you have often been. For me this is sunset at North Lake with crisp nighttime air and mountains in the background. When I picture the view across the lake, I can feel peace and relaxation returning to me.
Move: Dance. Take a walk. Get some exercise. Go see a friend. Go hug someone or pet your dog or cat. Laugh, whether you can think of something funny or not.
Breathing Techniques: Take a deep breath and breathe in new ideas, breathe out negativity and doubts. Breathe in energy, breathe out worries. Breathe slowly. Breathe in relaxation, breathe out stress. Breathe in confidence, breathe out distractions.
Substitute Positive Words for Negative: Be ready to have constructive words to supplant the negative ones. If you have a favorite inspirational quote or poem, say that to yourself. If you have an affirmation of achievement that you say to yourself each morning, say that whenever you feel beaten down by naysayers. One thing I say to myself when I run into a complainer is, “Complaining about complaining is still complaining.” Meaning that yes, complaining is bad which is why I shouldn’t do it, which means I HAVE to forget about whatever has just been said to me. It shifts my focus away from whatever the negative person said, and back onto ME and my actions.
Finally, Try to Limit Your Exposure: Using these techniques, you may still find yourself slowing down and losing focus when faced with a lot of negativity. Even Superman was weakened by Kryptonite. When you feel your energy sapping, try to get away. Even a reprieve as temporary as excusing yourself and going to the bathroom may help you regain your strength. Maybe the dog needs walking or you thought you heard your phone ringing or you should check something you left in the microwave. Excuse yourself out of negative conversations.
May your days be filled with the sound of applause. May giant smiles and friendly waves greet you. But should you face a judgmental, critical, nasty pile of discouragement walking around and pretending to be a person, I hope these tips will protect you from negativity and help you feel better quickly. Comment below with your own favorite way of dealing with negative people.