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Empowering yourself – Choosing to redirect negative energy

Written by Easter Becker-Smith. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on October 22, 2014 with No Comments

There are people in our lives whom we enjoy being with. You feel good after spending time in their company. You may even feel inspired and re-energized from being with someone at work or with a friend or a relative. Feeling uplifted and joyful is time well spent.

Then there are those people with whom you may not want to spend your time. You do not walk away feeling good, but rather drained, or irritable, or angry.

You may have just been with someone who complains constantly, or talks on and on about all the bad things happening to them, or they seem angry at the world. That is the person that you want to avoid, but maybe he or she is someone you have contact with daily or weekly. What if that person you would call negative is a co-worker, or worse, your boss? What if it’s a family member that you do not feel you can avoid?

We always have choices in life. You may have to deal with your boss today, or work with that complaining employee, but you do have a choice of how you react to that person.

You can choose to be sucked into their negativity and end up feeling bad for hours. You may even start complaining to someone else about what you just experienced, which can add more energy to the irritation you are feeling.

If you are complaining about that guy in the office who always complains, then wait a minute.  How are you behaving differently than that guy? Well, you are not, at least not in that moment. You are the complainer, too, and you are now expanding and spreading the negativity.

You can choose a different emotion. You do not have to just react to what someone says or does.

When you are in contact with the Connie Constant Complainer, you can listen for a short time and then interject something positive.

Let’s say Connie is going on about the current project you are both assigned and how she does not feel it is important when there are other more important projects to do, and that there is just not enough time to get it all done and that she does not like the client that you are dealing with and on and on. You want to shout out, “Oh stop!” but, of course, you cannot do that in the workplace.

Instead, you can say to Connie, before she continues her stream of complaints, “You are right, we don’t have much time to do this project.  I have the list of items that have already been shipped. Did you find out the shipping dates on the backordered materials?” You can choose to not let Connie’s attitude affect you by focusing on how you want to feel and what you need to accomplish. You are redirecting her negative energy to the project at hand.

You know that Connie likes to complain. When you accept that and do not let it continue during your time with her, you have empowered yourself to stay in a good frame of mind. You have decided not to let Connie get under your skin.

A quote by Albert Ellis sums up our power to choose how we feel and react to others so well. Ellis is the founder of Rational Emotional Therapy and rational is a key word regarding our choice of reactions.  He said, “People and things do not upset us, rather we upset ourselves by believing they upset us.”

There is also the saying that we can choose our friends, but not our relatives. Everyone has family members we prefer to be with and those we would prefer to avoid. There are times when the not-so-preferred people will show up.

You may have that uncle in your family who criticizes you, what you do, and most everyone else in the family. Nothing seems to meet Uncle Craig’s expectations. You can talk to him for two minutes and feel belittled because you do not have the right career or the right make of car.

You can choose not to feel less of a human being when you talk to Uncle Craig, however. When he asks about your work, and tells you that you should be in some other field, you can answer, “Well, Uncle Craig, I appreciate your suggestions and concerns. I am actually quite happy with my job right now. Hey, what do you think about that Cubs game last night?”

Uncle Craig’s opinion is simply an opinion and you do not have to be upset about it. You can talk about something unrelated to you or anyone else in the family. Let Uncle Craig criticize the Cubs and their manager, or some other team.

The point is, you can choose to not let other people’s negative thoughts and feelings affect you. Realize though, that the people in your life who you do not find enjoyable to be around do serve a positive purpose for you. They help you appreciate even more the friends and family you love to be with.

Soak up the joy you feel when you are with those you want to be with. It is a feeling that surrounds you like the warm sun on a beautiful autumn day and is always such a pleasure.

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About Easter Becker-Smith

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Easter Becker-Smith provides coaching for individuals, groups and corporate teams.  She coaches individuals to help them discover their own path to balance and fulfillment in their lives.  She brings her years of experience in business as a highly regarded leader to help companies improve their productivity and efficiency by learning how to better communicate with each other.  Visit her website at www.coacheaster.com.

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