How do you tend to deal with someone’s negativity?
There are 4 ways of dealing with negativity.
The first is blame ourselves. “I did something wrong, I said something to make them react that way, that was stupid of me.”
The second is to blame others. “They are so rude, who do they think they are? what an idiot!”
The third is to look internally to our own feelings. “I feel I need to stand my corner, this always happen to me, how can I show them I’m correct?”
The fourth – is the hardest to do, but most beneficial once achieved. And one most people don’t – Sense the feelings and needs hidden within the negative message.
The Hidden Needs
As a life coach and training as an NLP Practitioner, I have the philosophy that EVERY negative action has a positive intent behind it.
And yes, I mean EVERY negative action.
I’m not saying that each of those positive intents are good, useful or constructive. But the intention for the individual is for a positive one.
Wether it’s to gain attention, shouting to be heard, for their own gratification, to feel powerful, to let off steam – these are all positive intentions. But not always the ideal way of trying to achieve it.
Step 1 – Understanding the Hidden Message
So how do you understand the message behind the negativity?
This is the hard part.
Pause BEFORE you react.
From a curious place, ask yourself “What has happened to them to make them react this way?”
Has there been something that’s happened to them that day? Is it an ongoing frustration with something? Is there a future event making them anxious? Are they putting up a wall so not to confront another negative thing going on for them?
Step 2 – Challenge from the heart
I say from the heart. Because challenging from a place of bitterness, revenge or sarcasm, is just not cool. This will only lead to more negativity and drama. If you want that in your life, then crack on, but if you don’t, keep reading!
Let them help you to understand the hidden message.
Ask “Are you worried about…”, “Do you find it frustrating when…”, “You’re not normally like this, has something happened?”
You might be surprised by the reaction from these questions.
Reactions could range from, complete relief that you know and understand them and it’s not resulting in a confrontational conversation; to feeling attacked and challenged, even if this wasn’t your intention.
If it’s the latter, this might be due to it being an unexpected reaction from you that might make it an abnormal reply – keep the challenging from the heart and reassure that you really want to understand them.
Step 3 – Look for a Win/Win Outcome
Compromise is normally an outcome that is touted as a good result. But it means that both of you somehow lose.
If you look a bit harder, there will be a win/win outcome.
If you both can get to a point that means you are creatively discussing what the other person’s needs are. No two persons are the same, so use the differences to both of your advantage. One of you will like something more than the other. Let this be your win/win base.
I’ll use an example from my own life – heating.
My girlfriend wanted to sleep in artic conditions and I like sleeping in sauna conditions.
This led to many nights of “discussions” of who was right, who had to compromise, who was more affected. Too cold and mould was starting to show by the window because of the damp and cold conditions, plus I found it hard to breath by the morning. Too warm and she couldn’t get to sleep plus felt stifled with no circulation.
We decided on finding a win/win scenario and both went to task of researching. We came up with the ideal sleeping room temperature based on scientific evidence. We bought a thermometer and it ended up being a funny game of getting it between 16 – 18°C. We would open the window for an hour before going to bed to get the circulation going. We both won as it meant it was a healthier environment to sleep in and we still banished the initial fears from the beginning.
Professional or personal – this applied to anyone in any situation.
What negative conversations do you have that you can look at differently now?
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