If there's a Debbie Downer in your life, just let her be, Bernstein suggests.
I have a weekly radio show on Hay House radio every Wednesday. The show before mine is hosted by Dr. Christiane Northrup so I often listen to the last fifteen minutes of her program. Even as a passive listener of Dr. Northrup’s show I always pick up some kind of incredible wisdom and advice. On one show a caller complained that her mother loved to rant about how miserable she was. The caller went on to say, “my mother hates life and doesn’t believe in happiness.”
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When I heard this comment I perked up with curiosity wondering how Dr. Northrup would answer. Without hesitation she responded, “Just let her rant!” She went on to explain that when people insist on living in fear our job isn’t to transform them. Instead, a powerful tool for dealing with negative people is to just let them be negative. Dr. Northrup suggested that when the other person wants to complain you let them, and even go as far as engage in the negativity. You can say things like, “I know how hard this must be for you. This really sucks,” and so on. By reinforcing their negativity it’s likely that they will experience two responses. One may be that they feel a sense of relief because they no longer need to defend their bad attitude. Or, they may experience a breakthrough moment where they actually witness the illusion of their negativity. Regardless of the outcome, this practice will help the other person experience their negativity first hand.
Simply allowing people to witness their behavior can help them move beyond it. Use this tool with family members, lovers, co-workers and even your children. Let all that needs to be said rise to the surface. Then once they have the first-hand experience of freely feeling their negativity you can gently suggest a new perception. Maybe you offer them a more positive way to perceive their life or maybe you share a experience of your own that can empower them. Gently lead them in a new direction and you’ll be amazed how receptive they will be.
This practice will not only support the other person but it will greatly help you. When we resist the negativity of others we start to feel negative. Whereas, when you just allow the negativity to rise and pass you can be the observer rather than a sponge soaking up their bad vibes. Test-drive this exercise the next time you’re around a Negative Nancy and enjoy the uplifting results.