How to Deal with Toxic People
How many times have you started your day in a great mood only to be accosted by someone at work or even at home who is filled with doom and gloom and negative energy? It’s just human nature to allow this toxic person’s venom to affect our mood, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Armed with a few tools and a better understanding of how negative energy works, you can deflect it and continue about your day filled with good humor.
Emotions are Contagious
A person’s toxicity is just like a virus; it can get under your skin and cause problems physically, mentally and emotionally. And we all know that viruses are contagious. Just being around someone in a bad mood can cause us to take on the same pessimistic attitudes, depressing emotions and negative energy.
That old saying, misery loves company, is true. Those who are infected by mental-emotional toxins tend to seek out others so they can pass the virus along. The key to getting through these encounters is to treat the symptoms of the illness.
Treating the Symptoms
You can’t necessarily avoid contact with all toxic people; that’s usually out of your control, particularly in a work situation. What you can do is develop treatments that stop the symptoms of toxicity from making your psyche ill.
Construct a barrier. I like to call this your “blanket of safety”. Use the power of your imagination to envision yourself being cloaked by a force field of positive energy. Any time a toxic person tries to penetrate your personal space with their cloud of gloom and doom, they are repelled by the glowing white blanket of positive energy surrounding you. Even if you can’t find it in yourself to believe in this as a literal force field, the mental imagery can be fun and leave you immune to their negativity anyway.
You can take this concept a step further by imagining that your blanket of safety can actually emit rays of light that reflect positive vibes back to the toxic person. So not only are you refusing to let a toxic virus infect you, you are zapping the source of it! This is actually very effective. If you’ve ever worked in a retail or customer service setting, you know how powerful just a smile can be to disarm someone ready to complain.
Another treatment for toxic people is using the power of your personal thoughts. Remind yourself of your strengths, list things that you are honestly grateful for – no matter how simple or small they may seem – or you can even ask yourself, “How might even this be perfect?” That question is a favorite of mine and one I apply to all kinds of situations. It shifts my focus from trying to control the situation or outcome into paying attention to how it can unfold. I have been surprised every time at how really perfect things can turn out to be when I’m willing to roll with what is actually happening rather than fighting the process. In conversations especially, making room for things to unfold makes me naturally listen more carefully to the other person to try to understand their perspective. From there, I can choose to agree with them, disagree with them, or find other ways to work with them toward a solution. If I’m approaching it from a defensive posture though, the interaction is most likely to become even more negative and unproductive.
There are lots of other ways you can deal with toxic people, and many of them can backfire, causing the toxicity to expand, making you just as nasty tempered as they are. Instead, focus on protecting yourself with a blanket of safety and positively-focused thoughts, and allowing it all to just unfold while holding onto your upbeat thoughts and demeanor. Try it!