I've come to realize that there are many people in this world who are negative. Whether this be toward themselves or toward others, it affects the people around them. There are some very good resources in learning how to be more positive and how to deflect the negativity that other people project. One website I've found that has some great ideas on this topic is this website. Not only do they cover general negativity but also how to deal with it in the workplace, which I find very helpful. Sometimes the confidence that people see in a person will automatically deflect personal negative attacks on that person. In other words, how we carry ourselves and how people perceive us, will determine how we will be treated. But also, we need to look at ourselves to insure that we are not creating more problems and more negativity beforehand unseen in ourselves.
A podcast i recently listened to called "Create the Life you Like:Dealing with People's Negativity," was very insightful. Although it does have some religious undertones, it was mostly just a very descriptive podcast about dealing with everyday situations that include negativity. One of the greatest tidbits of information I gleaned concerned how to respond when someone points out a flaw in you. The allegory he used was a person pointing out a scratch on your car. You see the scratch, you perhaps thank the person, and then determine what you are going to do about the flaw in your car. However, when someone does the same thing, points out a "scratch", this time in your personality or actions, how do you respond? Do you simply say thanks and determine how to fix it? Mostly, no. Most people (myself included) tend to combat the comment in someway. Perhaps you deny it, or chalk it up to a situation that happened, or blame it on another person's actions. Next time someone points out one of your "scratches", try reacting calmly with a "thank you, I'll consider what you have told me" and then really do that.
One thing I realize that I need to work on is criticism vs constructive criticism and how to approach people when things need to be changed. This article gives a very good outline on a good approach to help someone understand that there may be an issue with what they are doing, why you think that, and what would make the issue better. This technique applies in every life situation. The one thing it doesn't give much information on, is the tone of voice and forcefulness of how the information should be given out. Tone of voice and perceived criticism from the listener (perceived not to be constructive) are goals I know I can work on.I am perpetuating a negative environment simply by approaching situations wrongly and sometimes not knowing when to leave things alone. The old cliche rings true: I need to choose my battles.
My husband is currently reading/listening to a book called "What got you here won't get you there." Last night he had the audiobook on without the headphones and I got a chance to listen to a small portion of the book. I'm excited to listen to the rest of the book as the portion I heard was very informative. One concept that stood out to me was how to really listen to someone when they speak. As a dispatcher, I am used to listening to many things at once and just getting the "bare bones" of what is being said in order to do my job. The authors expounded on the importance of being able to listen to someone so intently that they feel they are the most important person in the room and that anything they say will be listened to and accepted. One very important part about this type of listening is NOT interjecting your own person allegories, beliefs, ideas, etc. into the conversation any time you get a chance, and to NOT be formulating your next "speech" as the other person is talking. LISTEN and see what you can learn from that person without trying to make yourself sound/look/feel good. This will earn you respect from that other person and is a interpersonal communication skill that everyone should use. Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton are cited as being extremely good at this technique. The book also explains that everyone already knows how to do this. Examples include a first date where you are trying to behave your best, present your best self to the other person, or when you are in a meeting with your boss. You become attentive to everything the other person is saying and truly make them feel as if they are the most important person in the room. Ring true? I thought so, and I definitely have a tendency to jump in on any conversation with MY thoughts and MY feelings instead of listening for the intent of LISTENING and RESPECTING others. In other words, listen without being selfish.
I look forward to continuing to grow up and learn more about actions and attitudes in myself and those around me.