Have you ever been in a situation where the people around you are in an absolute stink? A prolonged state of ‘negativity’ where it seems like nothing you say or do, no matter how well intentioned, can encouraged them to come back into their heart?
My name is Joel Young and I’m the creator
of The NPA Process, a beautifully simple way to stop taking things personally.
This video addresses the issue of dealing with intense negativity in terms of basic human interaction. It comes in the understanding that human relations are often where our deepest crap hits the proverbial fan, rarely stopping to consider the sanitised suggestions proffered by our more enlightened aspects.
I’ve experienced this many many times in my life and I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.
I’m not generally big on formulas, but it IS nice to have some options.
So here’s a list of 10 things I’d like to share with you, that I’ve found helpful when I’m dealing with intense negativity. If you can assimilate even one of them in the heat of the moment, you’ll be doing yourself (and the other person) a big favour.
So let’s get started…
1. Re-Think The Label ‘Negativity’
When you label someones expressions as ‘negative’ you enter dangerous territory.
Now, It’s not that I’m saying there’s anything intrinsically bad or wrong with the term negativity, I’m simply suggesting you examine what you are really saying when you use it, and how that impacts your experience: your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
I could say a LOT about this, but the main point I want to highlight is that in the context of heated interactions: Watch out for the tendency to fall into the trap of using the term ‘negativity’ as one of the following: a judgement, a defence, an attack from a position of superior enlightenment, to assert yourself as a victim, to negate their perspective or deny their experience.
All of those will cause YOU pain and I’m encouraging you to be as aware as possible about how YOUR label for THEIR experience impacts YOUR experience.
2. Drop Your Agenda
When we’re uncomfortable with someone else’s expression, it’s very easy to believe the notion that they ought to be different than they are – after all, YOU can see that they would be much happier if they only followed your helpful advice and, of course, it would certainly be easier for you!
Again, I’m not saying that your helpful insights aren’t awesome, and if they did do what’s bleedin’ obvious to you, perhaps they would feel a whole lot better!
The slippery slope here is when you become attached to your way and then suddenly you have an agenda.
Agenda’s limit possibilities. They can make you go deaf & blind to the other person, to yourself and tend to create strong undercurrents of pressure to have themselves fulfilled.
Pressure and heat is exactly what you need for an explosion – just sayin’
The truth is that they need to be where they are right now – at least for now. And as humans we tend to resist when our natural pace is forced.
There’ll be time for suggestions or for offering a perspective or for finding a way through that works for them (whether you agree with it or not) – and that time might not be now.
When you drop your agenda, you’ll be more available to notice that moment when it arises.
Well, of course, this list would not be complete without a reference to NPA would it?
So… Lots of wise sages have advised people not to take these things personally – and trust me it’s good advice!
I have dedicated nearly a decade of my life to sharing the multifaceted and fundamentally non-personal nature of reality… And sometimes, especially in these situations, it comes down to this: It’s just not about you!
Of course, when someone’s deepest doo doo is being flung in your face, it can be easier said than done to not take it personally, but fortunately the human race now has The NPA Process which gives us a simple and effective way to cut through the sh*t (pun intended) and come up smelling of roses (I may have overdone and/or mixed my metaphors – but you get the point!).
I’ve experienced it myself AND had amazing feedback from so many other people who have stepped out of a heated situation, taken themselves through an NPA Process and found they really CAN stop taking it personally and become freer to act from a wholesome place.
On my website (see below) you’ll find a free and simple exercise called ‘Don’t Take Them Personally’. It will show you exactly how to use The NPA Process in these situations and I highly recommend you get it.
4. Listen To Them
This suggestion may seem hard to swallow, and it often requires us to be able to genuinely get the hang of suggestions 1, 2 & 3 – so: drop the label of negativity, drop the agenda and not take it personally – before we’re able to really listen. But when you DO really listen, magic can happen.
There can be lots of ‘faux’ listening going on, especially where an agenda is running in the background – and in fact, that is not listening.
Truly listening can be miraculous, but listening in order to get a miracle – well, we’re back to agenda again :p
Listening without an agenda is just that. Listening. Nothing added. You might be amazed what gets said when they realise you’re really listening.
5. Listen To You
There’s a saying that ‘misery loves company’ which points to our very natural human longing for agreement. In the heat of their deepest pain people often seek agreement from those around them.
And when I say seek, as you know, it often comes out as demand right?
Now, Our culture is full of mixed messages in this arena.
We’re taught, for example:
“It is kind and loving to sympathise and support someone in their painful stories”
This is something many would agree with, and it’s my opinion that there IS a place for this in the bish bosh of day to day human bonding. Validation can be an important part of dialogue.
Conversely we are told “where attention goes energy flows”, which in this context is kind of a rebranding of “don’t throw fuel on the fire”. In other words, if you give their negativity attention it will just get worse.
Then there’s the old chestnut: “If I don’t put ’em straight they’ll never learn”… And sometimes a strong alternative perspective is exactly what’s needed…
The reality is, there’s no ONE approach that will be right for all situations, and you can’t truly know how the other person will respond whichever path you choose. To sympathise, to challenge, to ignore, to confront…? What to do? What to do?
All you can do is listen to you as best you can, and follow those inner prompts, knowing that they, ultimately, come from a wider awareness. Plus, this way, at least you stay with yourself.
6. Ask Yourself: Is It Kind To Me?
This inner inquiry came to me in the middle of a drawn out domestic some years ago.
Kindness has always been important to me and the question I used to ask was focused very much in the outward direction. “What’s the kind thing for me to do” would be translated as “how can I express kindness towards them“.
What I realised though is that sometimes, my attempts at kindness would be very painful for me, and would often backfire and cause greater stress in my beloved at the time.
The thing is, I was excluding myself completely from the kindness equation.
So, on this occasion I was laying next to my wife at the time, both of us worn out from the long fight. I knew she was still mad at me and very much unresolved… and the truth is, so was I.
Then arose my usual urge to make peace… To open my heart and reconnect and I began to reach out my hand to touch her softly and comfort her… Suddenly the words rang loudly in my head: “Is it kind to YOU Joel?”
My hand stopped in it’s tracks as the realisation dawned. “No, it bloody well isn’t kind to me” and then, I realised, it wouldn’t really have been kind to her either.
It would have been a false move, borne from my agenda to stop the discomfort I felt with the conflict! It would have been a lie to her and a lie to myself.
My hand withdrew and I lay in the truth, and let her be – free to lay in hers. Something in me softened.
So my suggestion is: before you act to appease, to agree, to shout, to run – whatever – ask yourself “Is it kind to me?”. If it is? Chances are it’s the kindest thing you can do all round.
7. Give Yourself A Break
OK, this one is real simple. You’re gonna cock it up on numbers 1-6 at some point (and numbers 8-10 for that matter!). You just are – that’s your humanity.
So give yourself a break.
Sometimes, what is, is just gonna be: “I’m fed up with the unconscious negativity of the miserable bugger. Why won’t they just think differently like I tell ’em AND I’ve been as kind to them as I can possibly be in spite of their mood! What about me!!!!???” lol
Give yourself a break. There’s another breath coming.
8. Remove Yourself From The Situation
Sometimes you’ve just gotta get out. Get away from it. This links right back to listening to and being kind to you. There are times when it’s time to stay and work it through, and times when something inside says it’s time to go.
This is true in a small temporary way – where you just need to take yourself off for a walk, a bike ride, for a coffee or whatever… AND it can also be true in a bigger way, where it’s time to leave the relationship altogether.
When you listen in and pay close attention, and are willing to be kind to you, the thousand-and-one rational thoughts that would keep you in the painful crap longer than is ‘true’ won’t get a look in.
9. Affirm Your Willingness To Be There When They’re Ready
In relational dynamics, especially if it’s that time to go take a breather (and it’s not the grand finale), I’ve found that it’s kinder all round if you can offer some sense of reassurance as you step away.
It may seem that the other person can neither hear you nor cares, but something inside them is listening.
So saying things like “I’m here when you’re ready, I know we can work this out, and I need to go right now” tend to tear less at the bonds between you.
This isn’t only a sound approach at the times when you need to walk away for a bit, but all throughout communications at these heated times.
The more you can offer statements of intent to work it out together, to hear them, to be there: it’s all good (as long as it’s kind to you).
10. Get Help For You
Finally, it’s really important to get support for YOU – especially if you’re dealing with a prolonged situation.
So make sure you reach out and talk to a friend, pray to whomever you pray (and be conversational about it) or get some professional help with someone like me 😉
But really – don’t under estimate the value of another perspective in these kind of situations. We all need a helping hand sometimes <3
One More thing…
What if YOU are the source of ‘intense negativity’?
In that case, watch this video again and see if you can recognise how there’s a part of you that needs to ‘re-think the label’, ‘drop the agenda’ etc etc – give yourself a break and Do some NPA!!
Give It Some Love
So… Perhaps you have ideas I’ve never even thought of? Maybe one of these 10 suggestions has given you an aha moment or helped you in some specific way? Maybe you have a strong opinion about one or all of these?
Please let me and others know in the comments and why not share this if you’ve found it helpful
Also go visit my website: NonPersonalAwareness.com where you’ll find the free and simple exercise called ‘Don’t Take Them Personally’. Remember, it will show you exactly how to use The NPA Process in these situations and I highly recommend you get it.
[or use the link in the box below]
Thanks for spending this precious time with me and I’ll see you soon!
Joel is a well renowned international speaker and teacher in the field of Human Consciousness. With nearly 20 years experience in private practice and working with groups, Joel’s vast experience makes him a master of facilitating release, freedom, healing & awakening.
Contact Joel for sessions that bring profound ease, clarity and peace: [email protected]
NPA Website | Sessions With Joel | Free 10 Minute Call
“Ask yourself “Is it kind to me?” If it is? Chances are it’s the kindest thing you can do all round” via @JoelYoungNPA
“Don’t under estimate the value of another perspective. We all need a helping hand sometimes” via @JoelYoungNPA
“Have you excluded yourself completely from the kindness equation?” via @JoelYoungNPA
“In the heat of their deepest doo doo people often seek agreement from those around them” via @JoelYoungNPA
“The reality is, there’s no ‘one’ approach that will be right for all situations” via @JoelYoungNPA
“Listening without an agenda is just that. Listening. Nothing added.” via @JoelYoungNPA