One thing we always have to be mindful of is our attitude at any given moment. Our attitude largely determines what we experience and the type of results we create in life.
The people we surround ourselves with have a huge influence on our attitude. If we’re usually around upbeat and positive people, then we will predominantly have a positive attitude. However, if we’re around negative people a lot, then they will affect how we think, our emotional state and how we behave.
Negative people can cause us to be pessimistic and not have a healthy outlook on life. If we don’t protect ourselves from negative influences, it can lead to serious consequences such as:
- Frustration when things don’t go our way.
- Complaining, whining and blaming others regularly.
- Reduced motivation to do our best.
- Lack of positive expectancy for the future.
- Slow progress towards what we want in life.
It is our responsibility to protect ourselves and avoid being affected by negative people.
I once found myself in a team environment that had become quite toxic due to various reasons including major company retrenchments, restructuring of roles and also poor leadership. As our environments have a major influence on how we think and act, it became quite evident that the team environment was affecting everyone as team members displayed behaviours that were out of character for them.
As the weeks and months went by, the team environment worsened, and I found myself getting drawn into negative conversations, which were typically complaining and blaming management for what they were doing or not doing. I felt more and more frustrated with myself and everyone around me, and it came to a head when I had a blunt and frank conversation with the manager about what was going on in the team.
While the conversation was difficult and at times, uncomfortable, it was necessary because it was a trigger for me to change my attitude, and for the manager to start doing things differently with the team. While things did not change for the better straight away, it did improve a lot over the next few months. My biggest lesson from the experience was that I needed to protect myself a lot better whenever I find myself around negative people or in a negative environment.
Here are seven ways we can protect ourselves and avoid getting affected by negative people so that we can maintain a positive attitude and keep moving towards the results we want to achieve.
- Conduct an association evaluation. This means we must be aware of who we spend time with on a regular basis. One way to do that is to write down the names of everyone we interact with daily or weekly and then add a “plus” or “minus” sign next to their names. A “plus” means they are predominantly positive and a “minus” means they are usually negative. Then it is up to us to reduce the amount of time we spend with those who have a “minus” next to their name.
- Be intentional about who you spend your time with. Building on the previous point, we ideally want to be selective about who we spend our time with. If a family member has a “minus” sign next to their name, then it can be a little more challenging. It is up to us to be aware of what some of their triggers are and support them if they are going through a challenging period. We become like the people we spend most of our time with so we must choose wisely who we associate with.
- Do not engage in negative conversations. While sometimes negativity may be interesting, it almost always is not important. One of the best ways to easily avoid negativity is to walk away or not participate in conversations that are predominantly focused on blaming, complaining and whining about things not right. We all have patterns and we can generally predict how other people will deal with different situations.
- Redirect conversations, if required. Sometimes we may be in a situation where we can’t walk away from a conversation. On such occasions, we change the topic of conversation to something positive. It could come down to simply saying, “Let’s talk about something else or something positive.”
- Stay focused on your goals.When we have something important we are working on, we’ll choose not to get caught up with petty or unimportant things. Being clear on our priorities will ensure we stay focused on what matters most and continue taking action towards the outcomes we want.
- Visualise being protected at all times. A powerful technique to protect ourselves is to imagine being surrounded by water, much like standing in the middle of a water fountain. Water acts as an insulator so we can use the power of our mind, through the use of our imagination, to not let negativity penetrate or flow through us. This is why it is okay sometimes to be inside our own bubble.
- Ask yourself more empowering questions. We can change our experiences just by asking better quality questions. Whenever we feel pulled into negativity, one question that will help us re-evaluate what is best for us is, “How would my higher self respond in this situation?” Most times, we will find that the negativity we are drawn to is not important at all, so we can shift our focus to something more productive.
Our attitude will be tested every day and it is up to us to ensure that we maintain an attitude that will lead us to where we want to go or what we want to accomplish. If we don’t, we will quickly find ourselves getting caught up in negativity, which makes our experiences in life unpleasant and demotivating. Protecting ourselves from negativity is of paramount importance.
Question: What is something else we can do to avoid getting affected by negative people?
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