April 06, 2016

How to step away from negative people

Do you have a friend that loves to complain and talk about how hard their life is? Do you have a friend that is quick to cut your achievement down, to remind you of your failures or who seems to create constant drama? What's more, do you have a friend that you are scared to express your true opinion to?
If the answer is yes, your friend is a negative person in your life.

A friend by definition is someone who you share mutual affection. A GOOD friend is defined much differently.

A true friend is someone who:

  • supports you no matter what
  • doesn't judge you
  • won’t put you down or deliberately hurt your feelings
  • is kind and has respect for you
  • will love you because they choose to, not because they feel like they should
  • you enjoy spending time with and are not seeing to purely keep up appearances 
  • is loyal
  • is trustworthy
  • can laugh when you do
  • is willing to stick around when things get tough
  • makes you smile
  • is there to listen.

Negative 'friends' are toxic for your mental health and create a very unhealthy environment for you. A friend is someone who should make the world feel like a better place not drag you down, attack your self esteem or leave you feeling drained. If a friend criticises your dreams, image, choices or lifestyle it is not because you are defective in some way. Negative people are often very unhappy with their own life and instead of building the courage to change, they live in a negative cycle of complaining without resolving their problems.

Friendships with negative people are not equal or fair. One sure fact in life is that you cannot control how people think or react but you can change who you choose to surround yourself with. It may be a very difficult and daunting decision to separate from a negative friend, especially if you have history or once had a healthy relationship. You won't be able to change your negative friend and some time apart may be what is needed. Challenge yourself to meet new people and foster friendships with like-minded folks who think positively. Friends that support you and lift you up enrich your life and make you realise what friends are really for. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve to surround yourself with people who truly appreciate you for who you are and make you feel like the world is wonderful.

What do you do when a family member is negative?
Try to be honest with your family member about how their negative behaviour affects you.
Give the family member some space especially if you have tried to explain a certain behaviour is detrimental to your mental health. Know that you deserve respect from your family and stick to your guns. Often your family will realise how their behaviour was affecting you and realise they need to treat you with more respect.

What if you are negative to yourself?
Every once and a while we all fall into the trap of thinking negatively. Stress, pressure, exhaustion and difficult circumstances can get anyone down. Negativity can be like a snowball that builds and builds in your mind until everything you see in your life seems miserable. Remember that you are making choices in your life to live how you do. You have the power to change your life at any time. You also have the power to accept your life and figure out how you are going to get through it. Complaining doesn't achieve any results. Brainstorming how to change what is making you unhappy in life is how you can find a solution to your problem.

How to be more positive:

  1. Be grateful. Maybe start a gratitude journal where you can write down three to five things each day that you are grateful for such as, your partner, your healthy body or your delicious dinner. Focus on all the positive things in your life and how great life really is! 
  2. Spend some time in nature. Go for a walk, be by the water, listen to the breeze in the trees and feel the sun of your skin. Being in nature will make you feel more grounded and help you to see the bigger picture.
  3. Be aware of your thoughts. Check in with yourself throughout the day. Are you tensing your jaw or shoulders? Take a few minutes to breathe and reconnect with your self. Even better, try meditation.
  4. Be a positive person to others. Be the sort of friend or family member that you would ultimately want to have. Be supportive and optimistic and look on the bright side of life. Be a good listener to someone or offer to give others a helping hand.
  5. Exercise and eat healthily. Taking care of your body is a way of showing yourself respect. Eat nourishing foods regularly and stay active. Keep your body moving in a realistic and balanced way.


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