We all know negative people…the individuals who simply exude bad vibes and make everyone around them feel low, lethargic and dejected. I like to refer to these people as Dementors; the characters present in the Harry Potter series.
“They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself… soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.“- J.K. Rowling
Some may think this is a strong description but I do not take Ms Rowling’s words lightly! Of course, we all have down days but sadly, there are folks who spend their time sucking the joy and happiness out of their physical environment.
Have a think about everyone you know. Think of your family, friends, colleagues and your wider circle. Who do you love being around? Who makes you feel good and why?
Have you thought of someone?
If you have, I bet you have a massive smile on your face right now. I can think of those type of people in a heartbeat, the ones that can make me beam on a down day and are simply a pleasure to be around.
Now, think of someone who is the exact opposite. Who do you have in life that makes you feel low just by being in their presence? Do you have a neighbour that gives you shivers but you don’t know why or a friend who simply cannot bring herself to be happy for you when you receive a new promotion?
I’ve observed both professionally and personally that these peoples negativity is often rooted in insecurity and sadness. They’re not evil, simply very unhappy and often their misery and uncertainty literally prohibit them from emanating the goodness that is locked away deep inside. It’s near impossible for us to distribute energy that we don’t have access to. So, if these people are feeling negative within, chances are they will project negativity outwards.
I remember being friends with someone who found it really difficult to say nice things about others. She would readily accept compliments but would never dish them out.
I spoke things through with my friend (who has allowed me to share this story) and on reflection, we discovered that she had never received compliments growing up and therefore found it hard to offer praise or positive comments to others.
So, how do we deal with these people?
I’ve always found the most successful way is through displaying genuine compassion. As hard as it is, when faced with a particularly challenging Dementor I think of their current situation and try to put myself in their shoes.
Once I understood more about my pals history my mutual friends and I made every effort to let her know exactly how beautiful she was inside and out. Eventually, she began to absorb these positive messages and once her self-esteem improved she was able to extend more tenderness out into her wider circle.
Within this scenario compassion truly was the key and most often I think that is the case. If you have a friend or acquaintance that seems to be going through a particularly negative phase perhaps you can use kindness, compassion and light to combat any darkness they’re emitting.
However, that’s not to say that you should allow yourself to be bullied or consistently put down by a perpetually negative person. Sometimes, people are in a space where even the ultimate amount of TLC can not bring them out of their dark hole. Please take care to extend this loving compassion to yourself and if you are in a situation where your personal equilibrium and sense of well being are being compromised then sometimes the kindest thing you can do is to walk away.
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