You can’t always just “get rid of” negative people. Sometimes they are your family, friends, coworkers, lovers. People have bad days. Even you.
So, if you can’t rid someone from your life, how do you deal?
Negative people will always be around, so here’s some ideas to help you deal with them:
- Use their energy. Use this experience as a personal challenge to stay centered and remain in charge of your own energetic and emotional levels. Let negativity be a cue to breathe and challenge yourself. Isn’t this an empowering thought? Rather than allowing someone’s negativity to reduce you to the victim role let it remind you that you are in command of your thoughts and emotions.
- Empathize. We really don’t know someone’s entire story. Isn’t it true that we all have bad days? Don’t you get negative once in a while? If so, then instead of getting mad or fighting, seek to understand what someone is facing or going through. That’s how we tap into our own humanity and compassion, and those thing become a flood of good energy that washes away the negativity. Compassion wins.
- Shift it. Instead of pointing out someone’s negative energy, you can use tools like humor, appreciation and playfulness to shift the energy. Take it as another challenge to introduce positivity to the scene. Not only will this skill help the person you’re dealing with, it’ll also help you develop your leadership skills and your capacity to start movements.
- Enroll them. Instead of blaming or labeling “negative” people in hopes of making them change, you can simply make a direct request. Ask that they bring more awareness to their energy in order to improve your relationship and time together. Invite them to take power and responsibility over the direction and positivity of your relationship.
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Charged Life with Brendon Burchard. Please note that this episode, like all TCL episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Charged Life has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of Youtube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)
How do you deal with negative people?
Now, wait a second. Maybe you think you know the answer to this. But I have a different take on it because, today, it’s very popular for people to tell you, “Well just get rid of negative people. Never be around them. Just be around positive people all the time.”
But what happens when the negative person is your spouse or your brother or your sister or that guy at work you have to sit next to every day, dude? What do you do when real life is here, and we’re not in some La La Land of personal development where everybody is positive and perfect? You and I both know there are people out there who are very critical, who will be harsh with you, who will try to find every little thing they can to comment about you. Or, they’re always complaining about the weather or the news, and their energy just makes you want to repel. That’s real.
Sometimes, you can’t get rid of those people, and in my personal opinion, the advice to get rid of everything in life that you don’t like seems a little weak-willed. It’s wonderful that we live in this new modern age of ease and convenience with lots of options. But you know what? We also have to develop our character.
#1: Use their energy
So, let me tell you my thoughts about the number one thing you should do when you have to deal with negative people. Use it. Use their energy. Use that energy they put out there. Use that challenge for your own character development. Really!
See, when I have a negative person around me, I don’t sit there becoming a victim, saying, “Oh gosh, they are so negative.” I don’t go home and assume their negative energy. Instead, I approach their presence like this:
This is a moment to test myself. Am I really in command of my emotions and how I think, or are they? Am I giving my power over to the world so that they can just take my energy and turn it into what they want? Or am I in charge?
So, I use it as a challenge. I don’t have to challenge or change them immediately. I will get to that point. But I get to the point where I say, “You know what? Here’s a little challenge the world’s throwing at me right now. Can I stay on my game? Can I stay centered? Can I stay peaceful? Can I stay calm? Can I stay present right here, right now, and not have to run away from it? Rather than pretending it’s not, can I use it?”
And I encourage you to do that because, if it’s just something that you immediately complain about, then your complaint is an indication that you’ve let them win. Their negativity has directed your energy toward noticing what is negative in the situation, and you’ve lost. You’re not winning. Even if you can critically throw a barb at it and make fun of it, you’re still losing. You’re being sucked into their pools of pessimism. You’re drowning. So I say, use it. Recognize it and use it.
You know a lot of people who are in a negative mood or have negative energy, and you don’t know why. You’ve had a bad day, too. You’ve been rude. Yes, I know you’re amazing, you watch this show and you’re really into personal development. But at the end of the day, you’ve been rude to people, too. You’ve had a bad day. You’ve snapped. You’ve been impatient. You’ve hollered. You’ve been a jerk when you shouldn’t have been. You know it. Well, other people do, too.
So when somebody is negative, always consider what may have happened today that led to that. Maybe their kids woke up on the wrong side of bed, and they were just horrible that morning, and that person didn’t sleep last night. Maybe something happened with their family. Maybe on their way to work, they just thought of something very depressing in their past. Maybe the truth is, right now, they’re so unclear about who they are and what they want in life, that they’re taking it out on other people. Maybe their own failures, their own struggles, their own disappointments have ravaged them and led them to depression or mental disorder.
The reality is we never know someone’s story, and once you can teach yourself that, I really believe you become a better human.
You become more compassionate. You’re better at listening. You’re better able to understand because you have the intention to sympathize and say, “That person is really in a bad place right now.” You don’t take ownership of that and say, “Well, I didn’t cause it.”
You can just simply say, “They’re in a bad place. I hope they’re ok.”
I think it’s a real true personal power to be able to walk by negative people and still say, “I wish you nothing but joy and health and strength and love in your life.” To have that hope for people even when they are in a bad place: that’s humanity.
#3: Shift it
Go for it. Shift it. It’s one of my favorite games to play in my life.
When there’s a group of people around me with negative energy, I love to try and shift it. I don’t do it by telling them that they have bad energy. Rather, I do this by introducing humor into the dynamic; pointing out something that I’m grateful for and that I appreciate; or making fun of the situation and of myself.Whatever I need to do, I take it as a challenge to say something that makes them shift their energy.
I call it leveling up. When you’re around a group of people and their energy is down here, can you level it up? You’re not leveling up by accosting them and saying, “Your energy sucks. I hate you.” Rather, you’re leveling up by introducing the positive into that negative situation. You will find that if you do those first couple of steps, you will really focus on using that situation to test yourself and to uncover your empathy.
When you come in and you try to shift the energy, that’s when you will really develop people skills, the ability to lead, the ability to start movements and to make a difference.
Nothing shifts the world more than you shifting your energy to compliment or to serve the world.
So, give it a try. Try to shift that energy.
#4: Enroll them
Lastly, do not fear making the request. Don’t blame them, be mean to them, belittle them, or hit them with negative energy. Instead, make a request.
Try saying this, for example:
“You know what? I’ve just been having a hard time lately with my energy, and I know that sometimes you’re in that place, too. I know there’s a lot going on that’s negative and everything, but can I ask you a favor? Could you just play a game with me and just try to be attentive to your energy and be positive with me, just for me? I was just wondering if you could you help increase the energy around here for a little while. I’ve noticed the team needs it. I’ve noticed the kids need it. I’ve noticed that I’m having a tough time, and I know you can help me out. I just feel like the energy around here is too negative, sometimes. I contribute to that, and I know you have your tough times, but I wonder if, together, we could just be a little bit more positive. Can we try?”
Don’t blame or minimize them. Rather, enroll them.
Try these ideas. I know it’s difficult when a colleague, coworker or somebody who you care about isn’t as positive as you. But you don’t have to throw them out like yesterday’s garbage. There’s always going to be negative people, so the question isn’t, “Can you get rid of all of them?” There’s seven billion people on the planet. That’d be getting rid of a lot of people.
Instead, learn to use it, allowing it to serve as something that develops your strengths as a human, something that allows you to serve more people, as well as gives you the opportunity to inject more positive energy into the world. Do that more often, and you will experience what we call, The Charged Life.