There is a saying that there may be only two reasons, that we encounter the people that we do in our lives: to love or to learn.
No matter how much is said about the power of our own choices, time and time again we may find ourselves in the company of people who are not as up-lifting in company as we would like or enjoy, people who choose to look at a glass half empty, who complain about the grey skies and rain in the sky.
Now, if you’ve made up your mind that life is to be lived and enjoyed, to be embraced and moments of joy and laughter captured as often as possible, then standing around someone whose outlook so starkly contrasts your own is sometimes more that a little difficult. It can be down-right frustrating.
What else can be done but to beat a hasty retreat? Make excuses and run for the wild woods, where beautiful wild flowers blossom and the blue sky beckons. I’d say – definitely!
So if and when you come across, someone (as selfish as it may sound) who does not help you to feel better about yourself, then
1. Run! Beat a hasty retreat
Remember that you do have a choice, who you choose to surround yourself with, who you choose to spend time and energy on. Nothing is more valuable than your own ability to see the better side of things, to enjoy yourself, to live wholly, completely and happily.
If you can, are able and have a choice, then choose who you spend your time with.
Unfortunately though, what about the times when you can’t choose to leave. When it is family or an employer, simply someone with whom you do not have the luxury of avoiding, what’s the next best thing to do?
2. Turn it around (learn from them)
In my own experience, as difficult as they were to live through, the experience of dealing with negative people, were certainly some of the biggest life’s lesson I had.
a) What we feel is always our own choice
With buttons being constantly pushed by someone else, taking a detached approach, simply (when you can) observing the exchange or the situation from a detached perspective will hopefully allow you to see that while we may not always be able to choose the situations and the environments that we find ourselves in, we always have a choice in how we choose to feel and react towards any situation.
While this takes practise, over time, it becomes easier to react less, observe more and simply ‘be’.
b) Share some love and gratitude for the experience
Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that we can call upon. Although it is always much easier to find a place for gratitude for a positive experience, being able to define the positives even in the experiences that aren’t, go a long long way in helping to overcome the situation.
In a calm, non-emotional state of mind, make a ‘logical’ list of positives from the experience that is negative. In dealing with people, it has always been easy to see that, each and every one of us are simply doing the best that we can, in the ways that we know how, within the confines of our own abilities and experience. Viewed from this perspective, everyone is simply doing their best.
When we are able to step away and approach the challenging people we meet that way – we find that we become less frustrated, less angry, more compassionate, more willing.
Ultimately, each and every choice we make in all our actions and reactions simply serve to move us one little step forward, one day at a time. At the heart of it all, what matters most of all, is your own peace of mind and your own experience of joy.
Take care, be happy.