How to Handle a Negative Nancy
Y’all know I’m a pretty positive person. I’m not saying you should go full-on Pollyana, but it is PROVEN that a positive and upbeat attitude is healthier for you and leads to greater enjoyment and success in life! (Don’t believe me? You can read about it with the Mayo Clinic, on the Huffington Post, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, etc.
So you hop on the joy train. You have positive self talk. You’re feeling awesome and on the path to success.
DUN DUN DUN.
You are surrounded by the haters. The doubters. Debbie Downer pops up, followed by her bestie NEGATIVE NANCY.
What are you to do? No one likes to have a meanie rain on your parade. And trust me, the more you exude happiness, the more you will encounter those who dwell in the land of anger, depression, self-doubt, and pessimism.
But, don’t worry, there is GOOD NEWS! You can successfully cope with these naysayers and actually become MORE amazing as a result!
Let me tell you how…
How I cope with negative people:
1) Practice Kindness
Kindness goes far. When I encounter meanies, I just smile back ten times bigger. Because, generally, people who are rude, angry, depressed, or given to insults or hostile behavior ARE NOT HAPPY. These are horribly insecure people who have to put others down to make themselves feel better. See my article on Adult Mean Girls for more understanding into insecurity. Don’t let their bashing bring you down. Walk away. Smile. Maybe try to send some positive vibes their way. Because, clearly, they have some stuff going on…. But you can’t change them or make them happy. Only they can decide that for themselves. So acknowledge that they may not like your rocking successful self, be nice to them (no matter how mean they are to you), and wish them the best of luck in learning to love themselves. Because their self-esteem issues aren’t your problem!
2) Reduce or Avoid All Contact with Negative Person
Negativity is draining. Have you ever been in a room surrounded by nasty talk, pessimism, and people who just COMPLAIN COMPLAIN COMPLAIN. It is horrible. It is frustrating. It makes me, personally, suddenly feel super angry and want to punch a wall. (I am not joking.) Especially when people start complaining about people I know or bad-mouthing others. That’s the worse. So what do you do?
LIMIT CONTACT. If it is possible to totally cut out a negative person from your life, DO IT. You don’t need that energy bringing you down. Often, however, the negativity may come in the form of a boss, roommate, co-worker, or others that you have to interact with on a regular basis. When this happens, try to LIMIT the amount of time you spend with these people. Only do what is necessary, keep your head high, and find legitimate reasons to avoid seeing them as much as possible. And if it is your boss or roommate? Maybe you should see about getting a new job or moving out! Life is too short to waste it surrounded by people who make you feel like poop. But remember, they can only make you feel like poop if you let them! So don’t.
TIP: If I know I have to do something with a draining energy person, I make sure to build in extra positive me-time before and after. Book a massage. Go for a long run. Make happy hour plans with your friends. Schedule your day to make up for the negativity. And remember–once the interaction is done. LET IT GO! Don’t let the meanie rule your life, because YOU RULE your life…remember?
3) Use the Pessimism as a Learning Experience
Sometimes, criticism is a good thing. Maybe the delivery isn’t right. Or maybe someone is OVERLY negative and saying you can’t accomplish your dream! (Whatever it may be.) But do listen and see if there is a seed of truth. Let’s say your dream is to publish a book on urban gardening. If someone tells you that your book will never make any money because there are fifty million other books on this topic and you aren’t saying anything new. OUCH, that hurts. Thanks meanie! But what you CAN do is research more, dig deeper, and figure out what your UNIQUE approach to urban gardening is. Why would your book be THE must have book on urban gardening? How could you make the book make money?
Sometimes pessimism and negativity when taken objectively can help us push ourselves to be more successful and have greater joy. You just have to be willing to look at yourself authentically and objectively. And really, you should ALWAYS want to better yourselves. Because stagnation is really just a different way of exhibiting negativity and complaining. The magic happens in the land of uncertainty… So keep positive, keep chasing your dreams, and keep discovering new dreams and new ways to make yourself more awesome. You’ll only feel happier and more positive as a result!
How do you deal with negative people? How do you stay focused, stay calm, and stay happy and present when faced with meanies?
Be confident. Be proud. Be awesome. Be YOU!