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It happens to the best of us. You’re going along pretty well, feeling pretty happy, minding your own business, all is hunky-dory… then someone says something or does something and ZING! You’re triggered.
Maybe it’s a veiled insult, an off-color joke, or just a little passive-aggressive dig. Your mood plummets. Your patience evaporates. You start rehearsing the stinging comebacks you wish you could deliver. You can’t wait to gossip about this to a girlfriend. You know what I’m talking about.
So, much of the time, I advise simply letting of the relationships that are draining, depleting and discouraging you. But what if this is your boss, your in-law or, even, your child we’re talking about?
If the negative person in your life is NOT that easily let go of, here’s a few ways to navigate that relationship.
What would Jesus do with that challenging sister-in-law, boss or stepson of yours? You’ve been called to love selflessly and ceaselessly. That doesn’t mean burying all your feelings and pasting on a smile. Before and during an encounter with your button-pusher, pray for patience, strength and compassion. Use your prayer time to read your Bible—after all, it’s jam-packed with practical advice about how to interact with people. Pray for discernment around what to work through and what to let go of— what to lovingly confront and what to drop. . Pray to recognize that this person is just a child of God who is struggling. This will help you to open your heart and embrace a challenging person in a much deeper way—without reacting.
2.Don’t Take it Personally.
I’m not going to pretend this one is easy! I’ve been there and sometimes words spoken can feel like a deliberate personal attack. Try to remember that what this person is saying and how they are behaving is about THEM; it’s not about you. Whew, right? The most important thing is never, ever to let someone else’s negativity ruin your good mood or peaceful mind. You probably know by now that whenever you take a negative person’s words or behaviors personally, it’s not going to end well. You go on the defensive and just end up adding more fuel to the fire. When you decide not to take it personally you de-escalate potential conflict. So take a breath, step away for a moment, and remember that it’s not about you.
3. Use the Situation for your Growth.
This is for all my spiritual warriors out there. *Smile* Navigating with negative people can really challenge your faith, but by responding to triggers reflectively, instead of reactively, you might even help those relationships grow deeper. And then there is the amazing opportunity to learn more about yourself. Remember, every relationship you have is a mirror of your inner world. (I told you this wasn’t necessarily easy! ) The qualities in another that upset you are often those aspects of yourself that you don’t quite want to see. Instead of seeing someone as a nemesis, what if you could see this person as an ally in your own growth? When you’re dealing with someone challenging, ask yourself, “What could I learn from this encounter?”
And always bear in mind that every one (yes, even the most challenging ones) is doing the best they can.
So tell me, how do you handle the negative people in yourlife?
I’d love to hear your thoughts—please share below in the comments.
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