In Personal/Spiritual Development Land, I hear this a lot:
“Cut negative people out of your life. You don’t need them. You cannot go where you deserve to with them in your life”
It’s a classic “Empowerment Challenge”. But it has never fully resonated with me. What about you?
Here are a few thoughts on why cutting everyone in a “negative space” out of your life may not always be best.
- THE negative one may be a family member.
- You may work with them, or they may be your boss!
- They are going through a temporary rough patch.
- When YOU are the Negative Nellie or Nelson.
- How can we “Be the change we wish to see in the World”… if we only connect with the easy, fun, already happy ones?
- It may be our own perception or projection, that is judging or viewing them as a negative influence.
When they are a family member.
By all means you can draw healthy boundaries. (book by Dr Cloud & Dr. Townsend)
I am not saying roll over, or take abuse of any kind from anyone. I AM saying think about it. If you pray or meditate, do that. I did have to draw a boundary with a family member. She had been through a super hard time. But it came to a place of toxicity in her words mostly, that I had to draw a boundary and not have her around or communicate with her at all. The good news is, I made it clear that this was her choice, that if she went back to honoring our family with respect and kindness, that our relationship would be restored, and it was. Every case is different! If you are abused etc, you need professional help to navigate those choices. ( Google it ) But this is more for every day dealings, when family members are on a lesser scale of challenging or destructive. ~Calm down, get advice from a healthy person, and think about it before you take action. (* A Life Coach or Counselor is skilled in this area)
When you work with him or her.
You have a lot at stake in this case. If you treat them in ways the company or managers don’t approve of, you may lose your job. People around you get very uncomfortable with conflict. One scenario I know was so bad, that even though BOTH sales people were top producers in the WEST, the company felt they had to choose 1 and move on, to re-build more positive energy in the workplace. Also if it’s your boss, watch out. Their ego alone, and/or their position of having more of a voice in everything than you, makes it nearly impossible to be their breakthrough buddy on “their issues”. Again, this is assuming you are right, and sometimes you may not be. SO- is it worth risking your job? If you are open to this: think about it before spouting off. (and never spout in an email, it’s cowardly) I used to liken myself when I am really passionate to Joan of Arc, until a wise mentor reminded me that Joan was burned at the stake, at a young age. Sometimes it’s not our battle to fight. And guess what?! ~Often times there are similar people at the next job too.
Sometimes the tough space they are in is temporary.
Very often this is true. Are you going to bail the minute they are struggling? Overall- has the connection been healthy? Is this time temporary? Is there a greater window of grace they deserve from you? For most of us, tough times cycle through. ~They don’t last forever.
Remember, YOU may at some point be the “Negative Nellie” or “Nelson”.
I’ve been there. I think we all have. I am thankful for friends, family and mentors that saw me through. It’s also good to remember when we are going through Hell, keep on going until you are through. ~Don’t be abusive (verbally, physically, emotionally….) to anyone, in any way while you are in the funk.
Where does “Be the Difference..” come into play?
If you think of yourself as a spiritual or good person, then dig deep into the work of relationships. Some are easy, and some are super hard! That is the deal. If you are a leader, teacher, coach, counselor or general do-gooder…then go the extra mile. Breakthrough your own triggers, associations and shortfalls in the process. Expand. Again, I’m not advocating staying in abuse. ~I am saying that if we want to be the light in the dark, we must confront the dark and bring the light to dispel the dark. If not you, then who? If not today, then when?
Projection, Perception and the Shadow of self.
OK I know, that is a lot of psychological words right there…but Google it 🙂 What we are struggling with in ourselves, is often what drives us crazy about others. For example: Right now, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being not very much, to 10 being totally- 100%… RATE how much do YOU trust OTHERS… ( close your eyes & just do it! ) 🙂
Usually, how high you rate others, is actually how you rate YOURSELF as trustworthy. This is just 1 example. Also, the Shadow side of our psychology might suggest that what repels us from others, is something we lack, or that we need to work on in ourselves. The “Workaholic” looks down on the guy that gets enough work done in 4 days, and then goes to the beach to surf non-stop for 3 days. One possible reason is envy, which is actually just his internal signal that the Workaholic deserves joy, play and a more balanced life too, but is struggling to get there.
I suggest, as long as you’re safe, that we learn to love, work with, tolerate and mentor each other. We learn more from the challenging relationships and struggles in life than we would by ourselves, “happy” on an island. ~Let us do the work, and learn how to reach and teach everyone who is willing.