We all have our down days. Days when we look through a lens of frustration, heartache or even anger. There are seasons in our lives where we seem to find everything we touch covered with a blanket of negativity. But for most people those times are brief and temporary. We work our way out of them, we fight like hell to keep them from becoming a permanent residence. We hate the ugly tapestry they weave around our lives, and normal, happy people do everything in their power to work towards health, happiness and wholeness.
BUT SOME PEOPLE DON’T!
You know those people. Always the victim. Never happy with life because because life, people, work and every other facet of existence has conspired together to treat them unfairly. How should the people who interact with these individuals who can’t see past the darkness of the billows they have clouded their own vision with?
ACCEPT THAT ANY CHANGE IS IN THEIR HANDS
You can care for people. You SHOULD care for people. Hopefully you want other people to have a good life. However, that does not make their life your responsibility. Each one of us bears our own weight of choices and the consequences that come with those choices. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” Many people who spend their entire life blaming other and living a negative life could change it all tomorrow if they would take responsibility for their choices, and begin taking steps in a more positive and accountable direction.
REFUSE TO ALLOW THEIR NEGATIVITY TO DAMAGE YOU
The person overwhelmed with their own negative worldview and circumstances will typically lash out at anyone unlucky or unwary enough to venture too close to them. Caution is critical when spending very much time in their presence. Believe it or not, anyone, even you, are potential targets for their venom and accusations and judgment for their own horrible circumstances. It is irrelevant that many times those circumstances are either self-inflicted wounds or simply a jaded judgment on the effects of living life in the real world.
I love this quote by Elbert Hubbard… “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” You and I are not going to be able to avoid the darts of critics. This victim has to find a patsy to punish, and it has to be someone other than the person they see in the mirror. However, you do have to refuse to allow them to use their own insecurities to damage you for their current challenges.
STEP AWAY IF NECESSARY
The noise and clamor of negativity brings a horrible feeling of restlessness to our spirit. The road to peace many times involves a journey away from the noise that comes from that kind of hostility. The peace and quiet away from critical spirits and adverse voices is refreshing. A few months before my mom died, she shared this thought with me… “There comes a time in your life when you need to walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good, love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy.” WOW. Thanks, Mom.
The time may come when you need to step away from a work relationship or even personal relationships if the negativity is too overwhelming. It can be as dangerous as trying to rescue a drowning victim who is flailing about… if they aren’t willing to be helped, they can actually pull others under with them if you stay too close too long. The only option may be to swim away from them.
TURN IT LOOSE
For some people, this may mean praying for this person, and asking God to provide them some peace. For others, it might simply look like writing the name of the person and their issues on a piece of paper, setting it on fire and watching the ashes float serenely into the sky. For you, it might involve spending time with a close friend or counselor talking through what “turning it loose” actually looks like to you. Whatever it looks like to you, just do it. Life is way too short to allow someone else’s misery to repeatedly splash all over over you until you’re as miserable as they are.