What does the power of negativity have to do with happiness?
Lots. And I am not talking here how negativity is basically something good. In a way it can be, if your negative emotion shows you what you don’t like so you can start steering towards what you do like. (And you have to be the one to recognize the situation and want to change it and then take active steps.)
But no. I am talking about negative friends here. Or should I say “friends”. I call them energy thieves.
Life happens and unpleasant things come to our path without us wanting it. That is simply life. Those are the moments of self-reflection, a time to stop and rethink where you are going with your life. If you do it well, the events you first thought were negative, may reveal themselves as gifts in disguise that steer your life to a much better direction.
The power of negativity I am talking about here, however, is most likely not a grand big event. No, the power of negativity I refer to is like Chinese water torture. It comes from outside of you, and you cannot ignore it.
Think about the people around you. Do you see people who are constantly complaining? About their life, pointing out what has gone wrong in your life as well? People who poison the coffee breaks with their comments, people who hint (or talk blatantly straight) about how life is not good? Who try to find hidden negative things in events your thought were positive? People who get irritated if you try to talk about positive things in your life?
There's power of negativity for you - people who seem to spread a cloud of negativity where ever they go.
Do you feel deep down that these are actually envious of your happiness, and try to dampen your joy and pull you down to their whiny level?
Well, you are right. They are doing just that. These kind of people consider themselves as victims. They feel “others” cause them misery. Bosses, coworkers, politician – heck, life itself! They are in love with their own negative viewpoint and sit squarely in the middle of a hole they have dug themselves.
They do not like to be reminded that they themselves are responsible for the way they react to life. It is easier to blame others. So a positive person who trusts life, and actively makes it better, is a painful thorn on their side.
We all know misery loves company. If a negative person meets a positive person, they think the positive ones are unrealistic, have their head in the clouds.
The people using the power of negativity have the “just you wait and see”-attitude, waiting to see how misfortune is bound to strike the happy person. If it does (and at some point certainly a stressful situation will happen in even the most positive person’s life), they are the first to spread the news of the misfortune. They may talk as if they sympathize with the unlucky one’s situation, but truth to be told you can feel that they are almost happy and excited about the whole thing.
A negative person wants that positive person to see the err of their ways, to become realistic (they do see negativity and realism as the same thing), and join the misery camp at the bottom of the negativity pit they rule.
These people have real power of negativity over you unless you realize what they are doing. Their power of negativity makes you feel bad, make you lose your footing when you try to concentrate in seeing good things in life. They see the power their own behavior has over others, and are actually rather addicted to it. They can be very subtle about making your life negative as well, and over time turn your mind to negativity, as then they will feel comfortable around you. Unless you take your stand.
How to fight this power of negativity?
Well, if you notice that someone makes you constantly feel drained and tired and down when you have talked with them, you know you have met an energy thief. They drain you of your power and ability to see good things around you.
The easiest way to stop this from happening is simply to avoid them. Leave the room. End the phone call. Don’t rush to answer their emails or SMS-messages. Respect your own mental space.
Sometimes it is not possible to leave the presence of a negative person, so do something that rocks them off their balance. When they start complaining about things, no matter what it is, ask them straight: “Has anything good happened to you lately?”
Someone I know uses this often and tells the expressions of the complainers’ faces are priceless. They may try to say that you were not listening how hard their life is. Then only answer “There seems to be so much negativity in your life I thought you might want to talk about positive stuff instead for a while.”
And the good point is that if you keep doing this, the energy thief will eventually start avoiding your company. s/he is not longer living in an echo chamber of like-minded people, feels unease and leaves. Mission accomplished.
If someone aggressively confronts you, and verbally attacks you by saying they don’t think very highly of you because you don’t join in on their negativity, you can smile sweetly and say “Well, it really isn’t any of my business what you think of me, is it?”. Just be prepared that this sentence might make the negative person turn on their heels and march away right there and then. But if it is an aggressive-negative person you are confronting, that might be the very thing you want.
Life is too short to spend on other people’s negative bubbles. Burst that bubble and start doing things that make you feel good. If those things don’t please your negative “friends”, so be it. You live your life for yourself, not for them. Try to make it as joyful as you can and don't allow anyone to use their power of negativity over you. Shower them with your positive power instead.
Your life is your cake to bake. Make it as delicious as you can!