We are just into the new year of 2021. This is always an exciting time and New Year’s Resolutions are the buzz of internet. You cannot get on any social media without someone talking about the best of the best resolutions, the optimal goals to set, and all kinds of information about what so-called successful people do! There are just so many options, one can hardly sort through them all!
Because the whole concept of setting resolutions or goals based on the calendar has always fascinated me, I have read most of these posts as they have come along. Yet, there is a trend in these posts that has been disturbing to me. It has to do with negative people.
As I have perused the various articles on New Year’s resolutions, I am amazed at how many talked about eliminating negative people from your life. I was told to “drop” them. I read about how to “subtract” or “eliminate” them. I was told ways to “remove” them, “terminate” them, and just to flat out not even “allow” them to remain in my life.
It seems there is no end to the ways you can get rid of negative people in your life. It is kind of like the old classic song “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Get them on the bus, Gus, and set yourself free. No more negative people here anymore!
So, why does this concern or even amaze me? Does it not make sense to get people out of your life who bring a dark cloud with them? It just seems to make sense that if there is someone negative in your life that you would tell them to scram or get lost! And, the sooner the better! I mean we all know what negative people can do to us and what they can be like. It just seems right to get them out of our lives! Right? What if this is not such a good idea?
My concern with this whole idea of seeking to “Terminate” (said in my best Arnold Swarzeneggar voice) negative people comes down to two things. First, I struggle with focusing on something that is not entirely within my control. Like most people, I have a job, a church, a social circle, and I have to do business with other people. In my daily walk through life, I often encounter people who may fit into the category of these negative people I am to extinguish from my life.
I cannot be sure, but if I had to eliminate all negative people from my life, I may either have to become a serial killer or a hermit. I will not be able to get rid of all of them and I cannot really live alone forever! It just would not work! I could not keep up and maintain such a focus!
Second, I am concerned with the idea of taking negative people out of our life as a resolution. Do you know why? What if the negative person is me? I am trying to be completely honest here. Sometimes the person who is being negative is me. Like most people, I have my moments.
I strive to be positive and upbeat as often as possible, but I don’t always realize that high ideal. Occasionally, and always more than I want, I find myself being negative, crabby, and upset about something that is probably not that big of a deal (or at least should not be!). How do you eliminate the negative person when you are the guilty one?
I would like to suggest another approach. I am trying to look in the mirror instead of a magnifying glass. It is interesting when we start comparing ourselves to others, measuring them, and classifying them as positive or negative that we often become myopic and unfair. We tend to see their negative actions as global and pervasive while ours are temporary and understandable.
We have endless capacity to excuse our own negative conduct, but only a sliver of patience for anyone else.
Even more, if you are honest, most of the things that really bother you in others are things you struggle with yourself. It is so easy to find fault with other people. It is so easy to focus on what others are doing and ignore our own similar conduct.
I have surely been guilty of such short-sighted judgments. I am most likely the negative person who needs to be eliminated. If there is a negative person, it is probably me!
What if we all focused on ourselves and worked to eliminate our own negative attributes, habits, and patterns? What if we focused on self-improvement and evicting the negative person in us instead of self-righteously condemning someone else who is probably just doing the best she can? What if we gave people the benefit of the doubt?
I am convinced that this world needs more people who manage self and know how to deal with negative people in positive ways. I am not talking about accepting someone who abuses or is violent or caustic, we probably need to make changes there. Yet, there is incredible power in the person who can turn negative into positive–make lemonade out of lemons.
There is a need for people who can show kindness, express positive sentiments, and love others. I, for one, am thankful for people in my life who love and treat me kindly even when I am at my worst. For me, the best thing when I am struggling with my own negativity is to be loved by someone else. I cherish the experiences I have had in being loved when I was not so lovable. I find I am eager to return the favor.
The world and your life may be filled with negative people. I don’t know. However, it is possible that your life is filled with people who are just trying their very best and need to be loved. I am convinced that this world needs more people who can take what is negative and turn it around into something positive. At least that is my goal.
I am going to focus on overcoming the negative person I too often am and give others the kindness they surely want. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, I am going to strive to “be the change I want to see in the world!” I am positive this is a good approach! Will you join me?