Being positive keeps people healthy. Love and happiness are worth time and energy. Therefore, people avoid depression and keep themselves from regressing into the doldrums. However, it’s hard to stay in the positive zone when the people around you drag you into negativity. Their own personal issues weigh on you and actually make you negative, to your horror.
Although you can always choose to avoid these people, in some cases and situations, this is impossible. Case in point: some of those people are members of your own family. So, how do you preserve your own bubble of positivity and joy despite the presence of grumpy people?
“Relationships with negative people are simply tedious encounters with porcupines. You don’t have the remote knowledge how to be close to them without quills being shot in your direction.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Understand What Makes Them Tick
Instead of reacting to the other person, seek to understand his motivations for his actions. Where are those coming from. Don’t take the negativity personally. Did he say that line because he actually hasn’t had a bite to eat since he began working today? Could he be grumpy because he got into an argument with his wife or parent earlier that day? Or is he about to face a stressful situation (termination, operation, evaluation, etc.)?
It also helps to look into the person’s family background and upbringing. Is the reason the person curses so easily because he grew up in a rough environment? Could the person’s perfectionism or critical nature be due to a parent who also expected no mistakes from him?
When you understand what makes the person(s) tick, you are more able to anticipate their negativity and figure out how to deal with them without aggravating the negativity. You are also less likely to be irritated, as a result, because you already see things coming and have already mapped out a strategy to turn things around.
Adjust Your Perception
Remember that half full-half empty glass of water experiment indicating whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist? The way you perceive the world and people reflects what’s going on inside you. If you want to stay on the positive track, you should be seeing the positive side of situations or people. You can even do this perception shift as a self-development exercise. When watching a movie, for example, you can practice on various adverse scenarios playing out on the screen by asking yourself what good could come out of those scenes or what’s the good side of them.
Infect Them with Positivity
When a negative co-worker or friend starts whining or being grumpy about something, why don’t you crack a witty joke or line to get them smiling? Or you can share to them the positive side of whatever it is they are griping about. You can also opt to lend a listening ear or suggest solutions. You can praise whatever good the person did. Do this consistently, and you’ll unwittingly turn that negative into another positive.
Keep a Like-Minded Friend Near When You’re Around Them
For tough cases, especially when you feel you unravel every time you’re with those people, you may need the help of another person who is into positivity. This way, you don’t get the brunt of the negativity as you have someone else to share the load with you, so to say. Also, a companion can help back you up on what you say to the negative person and leverage your position, so you don’t feel bullied.
Work Out Your Own Issues
In the long term, resolving your own issues is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself happy despite being surrounded by negativity. Find out why you get affected by certain words, things, and behaviors. What makes you feel the way you do? What are your worries concerning what such people do to you? Once you know yourself better and resolve your issues, you are more capable of deflecting negative arrows that come your way. Also, you can anticipate your emotions in certain situations and strategize on how to deal with them or turn them around even before you’re smack right in the middle of a negative scenario.