written by Erica Quam
Have you ever had the experience of being around a group where the conversation takes a turn for the worse? All of a sudden you find yourself in a flurry of negativity that started with a snarky comment and let to an all out complaint-fest.
Does it ever leave you feeling better?
I'll admit...I've been in those conversations and I've probably LED my share. And it NEVER makes me feel any better - in the long run. It SEEMS like it will...when you get a chance to vent and complain. But it ends up being more of a downward spiral of negativity that just fuels the wrong kind of fire.
When you are surrounded by pessimism, frustration, and blame or even jealousy, insecurity, and fear...you will also experience more of those types of emotions.
This brings me to an important law called the law of association. The law of association is a universal principle that can be applied directly to you, your life, and your career.
Who do you associate with and why is this important?
Who you associate with shapes who you are. If you hang around people who are positive, encouraging, & inspiring you will most likely be more positive, more encouraged, & more inspired.
If you hang out with people who are negative, critical, & judgmental...chances are you will also find yourself in the same boat.
Who you spend your time with is who you become.
Scary thought, huh!?
What if you have close friends and FAMILY who always bring you down? Now what?!?!
No...you don't have to disown your family. And you don't have to ditch your friends.
What CAN you do?
1. Set a boundary up for yourself
Stop engaging with the 'negative nellys' in your life.
It's not about being a goody two-shoes or jumping aboard the good ship lollipop.
When the conversation starts to plummet, you can simply state that you're making an effort to stay positive and not judge, criticize, or complain.
You'll probably face some initial resistance...people want you to join in on the rant. Stick to your guns and you'll start to notice a shift in conversations moving forward.
2. Assume the best in people. Listen fully.
You can't listen and think at the same time.
Many times we listen with one ear while formulating what we want to say in our brain. We don't ACTUALLY hear what the other person is saying...because we're trying to think of a witty comeback. Or we're multi-tasking...trying to do other things at the same time.
When you really listen to someone...you hear their story. You hear their side of things...without trying to formulate a rebuttal.
When you do this more frequently, you begin to get a better sense of who they are and where they are coming from. This may even lead to more understanding.
There may be values you don't share, or ideas you won't ever agree upon...just don't criticize the person. It's not worth it.
3. Invite more positive people into your life.
Create an environment where you can be your very best self.
It's hard to stay positive in a really negative world. For every negative person in your life who brings you down, you need to find some folks to lift you up!
Seek out friends and mentors who share values of growth and positivity. AND tap into these "super-friends" more frequently.
Flip the switch of your life towards joy, appreciation, optimism, hopefulness, & happiness.
Surround yourself with people who think positively about their future - theirs and yours!
Which of these would create the biggest shift in your life? Share your comments below.