Positivity is most valuable during hard, grueling, and negative times. It is most powerful during the hardships of life.
Unfortunately, there are people that are steadfast in seeing the negative side of things that they leave little room for the positive side. These people are toxic! The issue isn’t so much that there are negative people in this world. There will always be pessimistic people. The real issue it that people like this can be found in our families, schools, work places, and social circles.
Why is that an issue? Negative people have a tendency to drain you out emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. You might even be thinking of a few of people right now. Negativity, like positivity, is powerful and contagious. If you are not careful you can forfeit peace and joy as negativity fills your life with dissatisfaction and criticism.
A few months back, my friend Vinny invited me to work out with him and his trainer at the beach. I jumped at the opportunity to jumpstart my fitness journey and promptly agreed to meet them there in the afternoon.
When I got to the beach, Vinny introduced me to Larry, his personal trainer. Larry was muscular, you could see his veins popping out of his arms through his thin layer of skin, and his voice oozed toughness. He was a nice gentle giant when we met but his workout wasn’t. Running sprints and doing drills on the sand with a 20-pound vest is no joke. Larry would tell me to go faster when I couldn’t go any slower. He would tell me to jump higher when I couldn’t even catch my breath. He would tell me that I deserved to better myself when I wanted to quit.
There was a moment when he put weights in my hands and told me to unleash punches for 45 seconds. I felt my arms burning. We had to do it 5 times!
He said, “if you were born without arms and someone told you that you could get arms by going through this pain, you’d sign up for that immediately. This pain is mental. Beat it.”
When the hour of hell came to an end, Vinny and I fell into the sand. I wasn’t even proud of how I did. I was just happy I survived. I gathered myself and asked him how hard it was for him to stay in great shape.
“It isn’t hard at all,” he said. “When you love doing this it is easy. You make your life fit what you love.”
“Want to know how I am successful at staying in this shape? I eat the right foods, I do the right exercises, and I surround myself with the right people.”
I knew that eating healthy and exercising are the way to being in great shape but hanging out with the “right” people wasn’t something I learned in P.E.
“The wrong people stress you out. If you’re stressed out you can’t enjoy what you do,” Larry said. “If I find myself stressed because of negative people I only have myself to blame for it because I let them into my world and I decided to keep them there. So I don’t do that anymore. I cut negative people out of my life before my life becomes negative.”
That was one of the greatest life lessons that I have ever been taught. If you have negative people in your circle, sucking the life out of you, then you are responsible for that. You have a choice to shut the door on that hostile relationship.
This post is to encourage you to let go of negative people. Letting go of negative people doesn’t mean that you are better than them. It just means you have way better things to do than to participate in negativity. It doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you think little of them. It just means that you are prioritizing your life, joy, peace, and success.
“Every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive.”
Here are five types of people that you may have let go of:
1. The person you don’t measure up to.
You can’t please everyone so stop trying to. There are some people who will never be happy with your choices. If you focus on pleasing them then you will conform your decisions based on how they will react to you.
This is a huge sign of being ultra-dependent on someone else for validation. This is not healthy. You need to accept that people like this are not worth basing life decisions on. Don’t preoccupy yourself with trying to change their viewpoint. These people have a negative bias so trying to change their perspective is simply a waste of energy that you could be putting towards bettering your life.
Stop trying to win their approval. Their standards are not for you. Instead of trying to figure out what will make them happy spend time in figuring out what will make you happy. Not everyone will be happy with your leadership, your decisions, and your way of doing things. It’s ok. Just don’t allow this people to be close to you. They will influence you for the worst.
2. The overly critical person.
People under this category think God gifted them with rights to judge the world and they do so gladly by finger pointing every flaw, hole, and weakness in your dreams.
These are the same people who laugh when you fail while trying to achieve. They take joy in saying “I told you so.” Know someone like this? Critical people will look at you and your goals and tell you every reason why you won’t get to where you want to go. They will even offer up alternative dreams that are watered down and, in their minds, more suitable for “someone like you”. These people are sabotaging your potential by judging you based on what they think you can achieve. Their vision for you is small.
If you cave in and believe them you will lose you passion for fear of being criticized. I have seen people actually accept the critics’ version of the dream they should pursue. Don’t make that mistake. Push these people far away so that you don’t even hear their critical voices in your head. Someone of you have people like this so close to you that you can even hear their voices haunting you when you’re by yourself. That is no way to live.
It’s one thing for you to have positive people in your life giving you constructive criticism. It’s another thing to have people in your life that will gladly bulldoze over your dream because you don’t have it figured it out. Listen, get help, plan accordingly, and pursue your dreams. If you fail then you learn from those failures. It doesn’t mean that they were right. It just means that you need to reconfigure your way in going about things. Tell these people that you do not appreciate unsolicited criticisms. If they won’t budge, you will have to let these people go.
3. The gossiper.
Do I need to say more?
Even if I don’t need to say more, this is a blog post, and you’re obviously here because you want to read something that will benefit you. So let’s reason with this one.
Socrates said it best: “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
You were meant for greatness. If you allow gossipers to inhabit your personal space then you too are participating in gossip. It takes two people for a gossiper to exist. One gossips and the other one listens. Without a listener a gossiper is only a person with a judgmental spirit. But with an audience that person now has validation for continuing the negativity.
If you lend an ear to the gossiper then you are guilty of their way of life too. Think about it. If all of us shut our ears to gossip and avoided it then there wouldn’t be any gossipers.
Gossipers love controversy and drama for no apparent reason. That breeds negativity in you. Before you know it now you are making critical comments in your mind about whoever or whatever you are gossiping about. Tell these people you don’t want to participate in negative talks about other people who aren’t even present. Take a stand and you’ll allow yourself to always think positively. Your anti-gossip stance might even influence a change if habit in their lives.
4. The user.
This one will, either, feel obvious to you or you may have to seek for the clues. Regardless, most of us have had experiences with these types of people. These people often bring very little to the relationship because their sole purpose is to take away from you.
This type of person leaves you feeling drained, empty, and often confused. You may have trouble realizing it because users are good at hiding their motives. They only want to be in a relationship or partnership with you because it benefits them. If you’re not benefiting them, these people will often times resent you and make you feel guilty.
Beware of these manipulative tactics that they use. They will surely ask and ask and give you a call only when they need something from you again. They will expect that you bend over backwards to help them, but if, heaven forbid, you need help, they will not be able to stand it.
Sometimes we put aside our principles, morals, and priorities for these people only to be left feeling negative. People who have lots to give make us feel better. People who only take make us feel worse. If you’re experiencing this right now: I am sorry. No one should be left feeling used. You can change it. Have a discussion with the person and let them know that you won’t tolerate that anymore. If they don’t relent you have to understand that they don’t want to make you a priority and you’re going to have to let them go.
5. The complainer.
My workout with Larry was awesome not because it was easy. In fact, it was the opposite, it was quite demanding. I felt the effects of that workout for days! Yet, the reason it was so great was because Larry (the trainer) and my friend Vinny were so positive the whole hour. They kept shouting encouragement and I soon found myself participating alongside them.
I can’t even imagine going through that same workout with a complainer. It was bad enough going through that physically but having to hear whining would have made me quit for sure. These people are downers to the very core. They are never satisfied.
Complainers will make you miserable. Their negative attitudes will burden you emotionally because it takes the strength in will to ignore them. Complainers will make sure you know exactly how they feel and they take comfort only when you engage in complaining alongside them. Your projects, your work, your relationship, your life, will become heavy if you consistently lend an ear to complainers. Do not allow yourself to get sucked into having a poor attitude.
When someone complains, let him or her know you don’t want to hear it. If they persist it may be time to find a new partner for whatever you are doing.
These are just a few examples of negative people. Many more exist (some even more evil). Still, this simple information is useless unless you apply it your life by first examining those around you, seeing if you can help the ones you can, and letting go of the ones who don’t want to be helped. This is for you.
Ok, now your turn:
What kind of negativity do you find to be the most common? How do you handle that? Please leave a comment below and share your story with us.