Often when we’re building confidence, we do so by adding positive habits to our life. But sometimes we have to build our confidence by letting go of negative things that no longer serve us. And that’s easier said than done, especially when it comes to people, places, and situations that have been a big part of our lives but no longer serve the new, more confident person we are becoming.
It is much easier to build your confidence and self-esteem when you surround yourself with positive people. Positive people will give you positive energy and feedback that can only help to strengthen your belief in yourself. If you do have to be around a "negative Nellie" keep your perspective and remember that their negative energy reflects their own lack of confidence, so don't let it eat into yours.
Unfortunately, dealing with negative people doesn't just happen when we're trying to build our own confidence. Whether it's your partner waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or your boss taking a problem with his kids out on you there will always be negative situations for you to deal with. When you stop and think about it, there's so much negativity in the world these days that you don't even have to be directly involved to get hit by it. It could be the guy in front of you at the coffee shop griping about his own problems that leaves you feeling like you just got hit with a blast of negative energy.
Here are three ways to weed out the negative from your life…
Notice Negative Energy
Your self-confidence takes the biggest hit when you are unaware of the person or situation you’re walking into. When you feel blind-sided, it hurts, it and it’s hard to recover and rebuild your self-esteem and courage. I like to think of how these people, places, and situations affect us as negative energy. Your first task is to become aware of this negative energy and realize where it’s coming from before it hits you. By simply being aware you avoid being surprised. Try it.
Be prepared going in
Remember how we talked about being prepared for situations and the importance of having a plan in a previous post. This is one reason why you want to know as much as possible about a situation before you get there.
Once you are aware of what or who is bringing you down, you can start to guard against it or them. The basic idea is to neutralize the negative energy that’s being send your way. One of my favorite ways of doing this is to expect it going in and realizing what’s causing it.
For example, if a family member always gives you a hard time about your weight, it may help to realize that she’s putting you down because she’s not happy with her own life. If you feel judged at a local club by a group of people, it helps to know that they may be doing it to make themselves feel better. Realizing this going in will go a long way towards neutralizing things.
Of course another way to guard yourself is to do what you can avoid interacting with the people that bring you down and of course avoiding the places and situations that make you feel bad.
Make the change you need to feel more confident
Last but not least, avoiding people, places, and situations that will bring you down is always an option. If you know a conversation with your sister will make you feel less confident, or you feel judged when going to a certain bar or club, avoid those people and places for now.
I’m not saying you have to cut them out indefinitely. Instead, take a break and focus on building up your confidence and your self-esteem. When you’re ready, you can go back to spending time with those people or hanging out at those places and see how it goes. Often the experience is completely different for you when you approach it in a confident manner.
Sometimes it’s impossible to cut them completely out of your life. So, when that happens here are four tips for dealing with negative people and situations.
1. Avoid getting sucked into the conversation.
It's easy, when someone is griping about their problems, to get pulled into the conversation. You may feel a kinship if you've faced something similar, or you may just be drawn in to rail at the seeming injustice of their situation. Whatever it is, avoid giving in to the urge to comment and commiserate.
This isn't to say you shouldn't listen. You can listen actively but don't comment. When you don't comment your emotions don't get involved, and so you don't take on the experience as your own.
The added bonus to this is that since you didn't feed the other person's negativity, they will likely search for another, more sympathetic ear next time.
2. Change the topic of conversation.
Another good way to deal with negativity is to change the topic of conversation when it gets to negative for you. If you can steer the conversation in a more positive direction it will serve two purposes: you will have diverted the other person's attention onto something more positive this time; and they'll be unlikely to gripe to you the next time because they will remember that you changed the subject on them.
If you're in a group and can't easily change the topic, you can either ignore the negativity or walk away from the group. Sometimes standing there, not contributing to the conversation will send a louder message than anything you could say.
Be careful that you don't allow yourself to get caught up in the negativity even when you're not actively participating in the conversation. If you do sense your emotions getting involved even when your voice isn't, find an excuse to walk away from the group and re-centre yourself in positive energy.
3. Walk away from negativity whenever possible.
You know that all that negative energy isn't good for you. You recognize it, and if you're like me at all, you get that gut feeling that tells you nothing good is going to come of this situation. When that happens the only thing to do is walk away.
You've made the decision to only allow positive influences in your life, so hanging around and swimming in the pool of negative thought isn't going to do you any good.
The good news is, it gets easier as you go. Knowing what you want is half the battle, and so when you know that you only want positive energy around you, it makes it much easier to walk away from the negative.
4. Re-affirm your commitment to being positive.
Once you've gotten yourself out of the negative situation, be sure to re-affirm your positive intentions, and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Tell yourself that you handled the situation well, and recognize that you feel good about not participating in a negative situation. You can even be a little proud of yourself, because it's not always easy to walk away when you know you should.
The biggest thing to remember here is to not let other people's negative thoughts bring you down.
When you decide that it's positive thoughts all the way for you, it becomes much easier to not even let yourself be exposed to negative people and events. And it's not just people and events... your whole being changes. When I started making a conscious effort to be more positive, even the types of books I read and movies I watched changed because I didn't want to be exposed to negative thoughts in my entertainment.
Here's the other cool thing to remember when it comes to choosing positive thoughts. When you decide to allow only positive energy into your life, more positive people will find you. You won't have to worry about being surrounded by negative people and situations anymore because you'll be attracting so much positive energy they won't be able to get near you.
If you do find yourself having to deal with a negative situation from time to time, use these tips to get you out of it, and back on the track to building your confidence and courage.