At some point in our lives, we all have to deal with haters. Maybe someone is rude to you on the subway. Maybe you’ve got a negative person in your office. Or perhaps you receive negative messages on the Internet. Experiencing negativity from others can be a real drag, and it’s very hard not to take this stuff personally. I often witness people get so caught up in the negativity of others that they get physically ill over it. Letting haters get you down is a huge waste of time and energy. To help you navigate these relationships, I’ve outlined three steps for handling the downers in your life.
Step 1: Understand that it’s not about you
When people attack us, it’s easy to assume that the attack has merit and means there’s something wrong with us. I choose to have a different perspective — I like to have compassion for these folks. Let’s face it: A happy person won’t waste time being mean to others. Therefore, we must have a tremendous amount of compassion for these people. Anyone who wastes time and energy spreading negativity clearly needs more light in his or her life. Begin by simply reminding yourself that a happy person doesn’t harm others. Let this realization help you have compassion for the haters.
Step 2:?Drop the boxing gloves
Through my spiritual practice, I’ve come to understand that “insistence means investment.” When we invest in the illusions of others by defending ourselves or fighting back, we only invest deeper into the craziness. Engaging in negativity creates more of it. Therefore, instead of fighting back or becoming defensive choose to release defensiveness and steer far away from creating more drama. Fighting back is like yelling at a barking dog. There’s no good outcome. Instead, practice defenselessness and witness how much energy and time you save avoiding more drama.
Step 3: Forgive
Forgiveness helps us detach from the negative energy cord that ties us to our enemies. Energy is in everything. If we don’t clean up our energy through forgiveness, we’ll continue to carry negativity. In the case of handling these negative folks, it’s imperative that you practice the F-word: Forgive. Steps one and two will prime you for forgiveness. Compassion will reconnect you to a sense of oneness and defenselessness, which will help you put down the boxing gloves and settle into a new perspective. The final step is to let go fully and forgive. In this step, you’ll set the intention. Simply say, “I wish to forgive you and release you.” Then let the forgiveness process take on a life of its own.
— Gabrielle Bernstein is the author of “Spirit Junkie.”
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