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Have you ever been in a situation where the people around you are in an absolute stink? A prolonged state of â€˜negativityâ€™ 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.
Iâ€™ve experienced this many many times in my life and Iâ€™ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.
Iâ€™m not generally big on formulas, but it IS nice to have some options.
So hereâ€™s a list of 10 things Iâ€™d like to share with you, that Iâ€™ve found helpful when Iâ€™m dealing with intense negativity. If you can assimilate even one of them in the heat of the moment, youâ€™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 â€˜negativeâ€™ you enter dangerous territory.
Now, Itâ€™s not that Iâ€™m saying thereâ€™s anything intrinsically bad or wrong with the term negativity, Iâ€™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 Iâ€™m encouraging you to be as aware as possible about how YOUR label for THEIR experience impacts YOUR experience.
When we’re uncomfortable with someone elseâ€™s expression, itâ€™s very easy to believe the notion that they ought to be different than they are â€“ 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, Iâ€™m not saying that your helpful insights arenâ€™t awesome, and if they did do whatâ€™s bleedinâ€™ 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.
Agendaâ€™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 â€“ just sayinâ€™
The truth is that they need to be where they are right now â€“ 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) â€“ and that time might not be now.
When you drop your agenda, youâ€™ll be more available to notice that moment when it arises.
3. Don’t Take It Personally
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 â€“ and trust me itâ€™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: Itâ€™s just not about you!
Of course, when someoneâ€™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 â€“ but you get the point!).
Iâ€™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.
GET THE â€œDONâ€™T TAKE THEM PERSONALLYâ€ EXERCISE
Learn how you can feel clear and centred around the people in your life who say or do things that cause you stress
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 weâ€™re able to really listen. But when you DO really listen, magic can happen.
There can be lots of â€˜fauxâ€™ listening going on, especially where an agenda is running in the background â€“ and in fact, that is not listening.
Truly listening can be miraculous, but listening in order to get a miracle â€“ well, weâ€™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
Thereâ€™s a saying that â€˜misery loves companyâ€™ 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: â€œIt is kind and loving to sympathise and support someone in their painful storiesâ€
This is something many would agree with, and itâ€™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 â€œwhere attention goes energy flowsâ€, which in this context is kind of a rebranding of â€œdonâ€™t throw fuel on the fireâ€. In other words, if you give their negativity attention it will just get worse.
Then thereâ€™s the old chestnut: â€œIf I donâ€™t put â€™em straight theyâ€™ll never learnâ€… And sometimes a strong alternative perspective is exactly what’s needed…
The reality is, thereâ€™s no ONE approach that will be right for all situations, and you canâ€™t truly know how the other person will respond whichever path you choose. To sympathise, to challenge, to ignore, to confrontâ€¦? 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. â€œWhatâ€™s the kind thing for me to doâ€ would be translated as â€œhow can I express kindness towards themâ€œ.
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 herâ€¦ Suddenly the words rang loudly in my head: â€œIs it kind to YOU Joel?â€
My hand stopped in itâ€™s tracks as the realisation dawned. â€œNo, it bloody well isnâ€™t kind to meâ€ and then, I realised, it wouldnâ€™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 â€“ free to lay in hers. Something in me softened.
So my suggestion is: before you act to appease, to agree, to shout, to run â€“ whatever â€“ ask yourself â€œIs it kind to me?â€. If it is? Chances are itâ€™s the kindest thing you can do all round.
OK, this one is real simple. Youâ€™re gonna cock it up on numbers 1-6 at some point (and numbers 8-10 for that matter!). You just are â€“ thatâ€™s your humanity.
So give yourself a break.
Sometimes, what is, is just gonna be: â€œIâ€™m fed up with the unconscious negativity of the miserable bugger. Why wonâ€™t they just think differently like I tell â€™em AND Iâ€™ve been as kind to them as I can possibly be in spite of their mood! What about me!!!!???â€ lol
Give yourself a break. Thereâ€™s another breath coming.
8. Remove Yourself From The Situation
Sometimes youâ€™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 itâ€™s time to stay and work it through, and times when something inside says itâ€™s time to go.
This is true in a small temporary way â€“ 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 itâ€™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 â€˜trueâ€™ wonâ€™t get a look in.
9. Affirm Your Willingness To Be There When They’re Ready
In relational dynamics, especially if itâ€™s that time to go take a breather (and itâ€™s not the grand finale), Iâ€™ve found that itâ€™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 â€œIâ€™m here when youâ€™re ready, I know we can work this out, and I need to go right nowâ€ tend to tear less at the bonds between you.
This isnâ€™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: itâ€™s all good (as long as itâ€™s kind to you).
But really – donâ€™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 â€˜intense negativityâ€™?
In that case, watch this video again and see if you can recognise how thereâ€™s a part of you that needs to â€˜re-think the labelâ€™, â€˜drop the agendaâ€™ etc etc â€“ give yourself a break and Do some NPA!!
Give It Some Love
So… Perhaps you have ideas Iâ€™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 youâ€™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]
GET THE â€œDONâ€™T TAKE THEM PERSONALLYâ€ EXERCISE
Learn how you can feel clear and centred around the people in your life who say or do things that cause you stress
NPA embraces and expresses one of my favourite paradoxes in the realm of healing, transformation, consciousness and love.
In this Musing on NPA & Life I want to lay it out for you, and give you an insight into, what I have come to understand is, THE biggest gift you can bring to any healing or facilitation situation.
“I’m Very Grateful”
This week I received an email from a client who wanted to express the gratitude she felt for the sessions we have been having, and offer a testimonial to share with others what she felt she experienced with me and how it has helped her.
The clue to the ‘secret ingredient’ is in here, so have a read and I’ll break it down for you after…
“WorkingÂ with Joel I have been surprised by, and so appreciated, the tender compassion and acceptanceÂ that he has brought to each session.Â He offered a genuine loving space withÂ no judgement; even of feelings I had previously felt sooo ashamed of.
In the pastÂ I have experiencedÂ aÂ certainÂ level ofÂ acceptance with facilitatorsÂ butÂ when changeÂ hasn’t come or stuckness hasÂ shown up,Â the focus on ‘moving on’ or changing has taken over.
Joel’s approach has the flavour of open-handed compassion and shows a level of acceptance which feels as if it comes very naturally from him. For me though, it was a very new experience and I feel that those qualities have been key to me moving on as I have.Â Those more tender/”dark”/”stuck” feelings, having beenÂ offered all theÂ time and space they neededÂ to feel safe and relax, let down their defences and change of their own accord.
Here I am a few months later finding myselfÂ inÂ a more peaceful and happy place! Feeling more able to deal with life, with more space and compassion now coming from within me! yeah!! I’m very grateful.”
Jane Griffin, Leicester, UK
The Secret Ingredient
SoÂ what was Jane experiencing ‘coming naturally from me’? She states; compassion, acceptance, genuine loving space, no judgement. These are qualities which naturally arise from the secret ingredient but are not the secret ingredient itself.
The thing I love most about NPA; the thing that practising it has trained into me, into my approach to working with clients and into my life in general is it’s agenda-less-ness. OK, so that’s not, strictly speaking, a real word but it points to the fact that NPA, in it’s pure form, comes with no agenda. And having NO agenda IS the secret ingredient.
AndÂ there-in lies the paradox, and the challenge for many a would-be power-user of NPA, and many a fine transformational practitioner. The question goes: “Surely if someone is paying me money to get some kind of outcome or result – shouldn’t I be doing everything in my power to get them there? Or at least to help them getthemselvesthere!!??”
The trouble is, all that “I, me, them, their, there” stuff is based on personal power. Personal power requires a person. Persons come with an agenda. Agenda’s come with timelines, outcomes, comparisons, judgements, intentions… that leads to right ways and wrong ways both overt and covert… that leads to dogma and dogma leads to blindness… I think you get the idea.
NPA invites you to:
Express yourself in your natural way.
To say a few simple lines.
To notice what happens (if anything).
That’s it. No agenda.
So How Does That Consistently Facilitate Healing?
Let’s break it down
The problem with agendas – even ones with positive intent, even subtle energetic easily self-deniable ones – is that they apply pressure towards the intended outcome or route. Pressure tends to invoke resistance, resistance leads to persistence and before you know it you’re in a world of friction and potential stuckness. That can lead to further pressure in support of the agenda and so begins an un-helpful loop.
Jane illustrates it when she says, “In the pastÂ I have experiencedÂ aÂ certainÂ level ofÂ acceptance with facilitators” – in other words, there was an agenda with the facilitator, and she goes on to say how the agenda kicks up a gear, “butÂ when changeÂ hasn’t come or stuckness hasÂ shown up,Â the focus on ‘moving on’ or changing has taken over.”
As you train more in the art of using NPA, you’ll begin to appreciate the importance and power of it’s agenda-less-ness. The power in NPA is NON-personal; as you get out of the way (drop the agenda) things begin to resolve all by themselves… in wonderful, effortless and sometimes miraculous ways.
Working agenda-less-ly with Jane meant that we met in a state of mutual, gentle discovery. It was like watching a flower blossom… and how personally are you involved in that process?
As Jane put it, “Those more tender/”dark”/”stuck” feelings, having beenÂ offered all theÂ time and space they neededÂ to feel safe and relax, let down their defences and change of their own accord.”
They(the feelings) let down theirdefences and changed of their own accord… And THAT is how having no agenda consistently facilitates healing, transformation, evolutions in consciousness and love.
Let It Come Alive
I have found that people who bathe themselves in the non-personal perspective at The NPA Expansive Weekend and beyond, find that it naturally comes alive in them, and with that dogma’s and agenda’s fall away. They still, of course, are available to passing intentions, outcome notions and the like, but rather than wearing them as uniform, they are passing fancy dress outfits that serve to raise a smile, warm the heart, lift a weight, disarm or arm; they come, and are used when useful and kind, and are discarded effortlessly as the truth of the moment dictates.
In the end it comes down to this, “Less ‘you-who-knows’ and more ‘Life-will-show’, invites the magic moment”
“Having NO agenda IS the secret ingredient”Â via @JoelYoungNPAÂ
“Dogma leads to blindness”Â via @JoelYoungNPAÂ
“NPA invites you to express yourself in your natural way”Â via @JoelYoungNPAÂ
“The problem with agendas is that they apply pressureÂ towardsÂ the intended outcome or route”Â via @JoelYoungNPA
“As YOUÂ get out of the way, things begin to resolve all by themselves”Â via @JoelYoungNPA
“We met in a state of mutual, gentle discovery. It was like watching a flower blossom…” via @JoelYoungNPA
“Having no agenda consistently facilitates healing, transformation, evolutions in consciousness and love”Â via @JoelYoungNPA
“Less ‘you-who-knows’ and more ‘Life-will-show’, invites the magic moment”Â via @JoelYoungNPA
Real Silence has nothing to do with sound. There is an inner Silence that is always available, no matter what clamber and clatter surrounds you.
I have sat with meditation “masters” who would go to great pains to control the environment, and especially noise in the room. I even remember an occasion where the teacher sent a staff member from the seminar room and out to the other side of the street. He was tasked to entreat the gentlemen who were minding their own and drilling the road, to please, in the name of Grace, shut the F*$# up… at least until we had finished meditating. As a testimony to the staff members charm and Grace, they actually DID shut the F*$# up, rather than telling him to do the same.
This dance was based on the notion that the energetics of the space are disturbed by external noise, which in turn can prohibit good meditation.
While I acknowledge that an outer reflection of silence can support ones ability to notice a true inner silence, or at least highlight the noise in your head, the association of the two can ultimately be misleading.
True Silence is never disturbed. Not by anything, and certainly not by noise. True Silence is a backdrop of total absence, against which the noise of experience, the one song, can be perceived.
Versions of the ‘Silence Please!’ dance don’t always come as grossly caricatured as the example I gave. It’s mostly a subtle thing, an irritation or a need for such-n-such to be just-so before true bliss can be realised.
If you find your sacred meditation space invaded by noise, and these controls and avoidances (cloaked as ‘honouring’) arise, then I invite you to be still… let your meditation be to notice the Silence beyond the noise. Here you will find the secret to peace in the storm of life.
Namaste. Tick-tock. Om Shanti. Woof Woof Woof. Peace &… Nee-Noorr-Neee-Nooorr. …Love my friend 😉
If you tend to rationalise the crap out of feeling alone, well I understand.
Especially on â€˜Saint bloody Valentines dayâ€™…
Maybe you question why you haven’t got thatspecial someone with you and berate yourself with some bugger’s reason why you should have.
Perhaps you rage at the vulgarity of Valentines commercialism and scorn the couple’s who fell for it; displaying their loved up life on Facebook like a badge of honour. Perhaps you quietly, secretly, wish them a nasty break up.
Perhaps you hide your heart in the Haagen-Dazs pot â€“ cookies and silent scream.
These are culturally acceptable strategies for dealing with feeling alone. They are seriously rubbish and usually serve to make you feel worse.
Hereâ€™s the thing. You need a hug.
(And, by the way, the same goes for Christmas, New Years, Birthday’s and all those traditionally ‘social’ occasions…)
You Need A Hug
And Iâ€™m not talking about one of those civilized, love & light, bromance kinda hugs you see happening everywhere these days â€“ although Iâ€™ve gotta say Iâ€™m all for them over a hand shake, an air kiss or an awkward stand-off.
No, Iâ€™m talking about one of those uncompromising, unhindered, full out, full on, â€˜Iâ€™m totally f***ing here â€“ this moment is. my. everything.â€™ kinda hugs. A hug that says everything you ever wanted to hear without a single word being said. A hug that has exactly nothing to do with sex or orgasms and yet gives every cell in your body the deepest permission to sing and cry and laugh and scream in one dizzy, crazy, out-of-control yet safely held moment. A hug that says yes to everything you are, everything youâ€™ve been and everything you long to become.
THAT, dear reader, is the hug Iâ€™m talking about.
The Big Question
And hereâ€™s the big question: Can you feel it? As you read the description of the hug â€“ did you feel it? Can you go there? Can you LET yourself touch into it?
Because, while itâ€™s flippinâ€™ wonderful to get that from someone else, the truth is there are parts of you that are looking for THAT kind of hug from you, and only you. In the same way that sometimes toddlers just need their Mum, and no one else will do â€“ not even Daddy. This can be true whether you are in a wonderful relationship, a crappy relationship or no relationship. Sometimes youâ€™ve just gotta get in there and hug yourself!
A Deep, Out-Of-Control, Yet Safely Held Moment
This week I worked with a client in his 30â€™s who had undergone a very traumatic event when he was 18. Out of the experience a great deal of positive inner searching, personal and spiritual growth had come and yet he, his 18 year old traumatised consciousness, was still somehow alone and locked down. For all the work heâ€™d done and help heâ€™d got, this inner kid needed to feel it. He needed to down-to-his-bones know: he wasnâ€™t alone anymore. He needed THAT kind of hug.
And no, I didnâ€™t give him that hug. I simply helped him to realise the man heâ€™d become was the one that his 18 year old self was looking for. And helped him to realise that the man heâ€™d become was ready; that all that heâ€™d been through, all that heâ€™d been inspired to learned and all the ways that heâ€™d grown meant he could finally meet his younger self, hold him and give him THAT kind of hug.
It was indeed a deep, out-of-control yet safely held moment. And although he hardly moved a muscle â€“ it was a deeply physical experience and the key that unlocked his long held defences and set him on the road to outward fulfilment.
So, if youâ€™re alone this Valentines, or at any time â€“ whether youâ€™re single or in a relationship but not getting that hug â€“ perhaps itâ€™s you youâ€™re looking for – and you wont settle for less. If you can even begin to connect emotionally with my description of â€˜THAT kind of hugâ€™ or it points you to your own description that you can connect with then youâ€™ve gone a long way to finding the perfect love today.
If you wanna go for it, then…
I invite you to imagine thereâ€™s a younger self thatâ€™s looking for THAT kind of hug today. It doesnâ€™t matter how old she or he is â€“ whatever age â€˜youâ€™, shows up in your sense or imagination is perfect. And if there are many â€“ form a queue â€“ thereâ€™s plenty of hugs to go around, and just pick one for now.
Once you have a sense of them, just feel, sense or see yourself go over to them and connect. Youâ€™re ready, so just take them in your arms and give them THAT kind of hug. If it helps to re-read my description â€“ great, do that. Or simply feel your way through it organically â€“ you know what they need. You know what you need. Hug it out.