My post on Monday was about encouraging positive networks. As someone who has a clear bias towards positive psychology and what it has to offer, it’s equally important to consider the dark side of life in its different guises. So if encouraging positive networks is about identifying those around you who naturally create energy and positivity and influence those around them, what about those who don’t really care?
They make life difficult, and in truth, I don’t like dealing with them. If I had a preference, I just wouldn’t. I’ve met plenty, and know plenty of people who just don’t care about the impact or influence they have on others. They have a very selfish attitude to life and only want to bitch, moan, criticise others and generally be ungrateful swines.
So how to deal with these energy sappers? Well, quite frankly, there’s no easy fix. No matter what you hear, or who you talk to, you can’t use an intervention to make them be less negative. That’s their nature. It’s who they are. They won’t stop doing it because you’ve chatted with them, or tried to win them over. Ultimately, they lack self-awareness and empathy. They have zero clue about what either of those concepts truly mean, and as such, you won’t be able to help them. I doubt even receiving instruction from the Dalai Lama would help them.
But here’s what you can do. Look at how you interact with them. Be mindful of your reaction to them. Not just to their words, but to their presence. Be critical of yourself in how you change your behaviour because you think they deserve no less. This sounds like a cop out right? Wrong. If you know, that you are being affected by someone, and that your behaviour has changed, the only thing you can do is change your behaviour.
Why though? Why should you do this? When they won’t change their behaviour, why should you change yours? Because the energy you spend worrying about how they are sapping your energy, just isn’t worth the effort. You can do so much more by re-focusing that energy to your own goals and your own relationships. Let them be. They’ll moan and bitch about life and will continue to do so until they have an epiphany.
Treat them as you would any other person you would see infrequently. They deserve to be treated with respect because they too are human. But you don’t have to do more for them. Life is about quid pro quo, and they won’t do this for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be kind to them. Your soul will be better for it. Your energy will be channelled better by it. And ultimately, you’ll care less about them and more about the things that matter to you.
And what about those situations that are truly difficult? Where those sapping the energy are in positions of power? That, my friends, deserves a whole other post.