No matter where you go, you’re likely to encounter someone who is negative. When you’re at work, you might have to interact with someone who is always complaining or being critical. When you’re at among family, you might have a relative who is always angry. And when you’re spending time in your community, you might come by someone who is forever gossiping about others.
Certainly, part of recovery and healing from addiction is keeping a positive mindset. It’s staying healthy in your thoughts and feelings and ensuring that you feel healthy in all areas of your life, including having a stable support network. However, it’s easy to be influenced by others. It’s easy to let the negative thoughts, feelings, and moods of others affect us. And others can have such an influence that it impairs the ability to stay positive. Spending time with negative people can have the following influences:
- Negative people can be emotionally draining.
- Those who are overly critical can affect one’s self esteem.
- The cynicism of others can be taken to heart undermining one’s self confidence.
- Negativity can be contagious.
- Negativity can drain one’s inner resources, leading one to lash out or become negative themselves.
- Negativity can even affect one’s sobriety, especially if they are new to recovery.
In order to protect your sobriety and recovery, there might be steps that you need to take to free yourself from the negativity of others. For instance, you might have to take action in the following ways:
Structure your time so that you don’t have to spend more time with negative people than you have to. If you notice that others are affecting your mood, you may need to plan your time such that you are not spending much time with those who are negative.
Be compassionate. If you have the inner resources to be compassionate, do so. By avoiding judgment and instead extending a heartfelt appreciation for the person you’re talking to, you might find that their attitude changes.
Ignore those around you who are being negative. Sometimes the best strategy is to simply ignore the negativity. Although this might be hard to do if you’re caught in a conversation with someone, you might find ways to do this with others. For instance, if you share an office with someone who is negative, you might be able to focus on your work or put in earplugs and listen to soothing music.
Practice techniques that strengthen compassion and acceptance. At first, negative people can have an influence on you, affecting your recovery. However, over time, especially if you practice meditation and other inward-searching techniques, you might find yourself with the ability to love, forgive, and accept the person in your life who is negative.
Encountering negative people is not easy, especially early in recovery. However, the above suggestions might be helpful ways to not let that negativity affect you and your well being.
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