You know when you’re dealing with a negative influence – you feel drained after talking to them – annoyed, irritable, wishing you could go back by 200 years when there were no phones or emails. But of course, turning back time isn’t the answer to handling negativity :) but what is?
I’ll let you in on a little secret – Vairagya (no, not the blue pill ad you’re thinking about)
Vairagya is the yogic practice of detachment. Although the ultimate detachment is about renouncing the world, we can’t get to that place of inner retreat unless we practice it in small measures first. So let’s start with practicing it with our “negative” family and friends!
The reason I say “negative” in quotes is because no person is innately negative – we’re all on our own journeys, some through pain, some through suffering, and some through inquiry. However, when our energies clash, when we feel a dip in our energy levels after interacting with someone, when we feel a transfer of anxiety, anger or worry, that’s a sign for us to develop some detachment.
Here are 5 ways to deal with negativity:
#1. Don’t take it personally!
What a person says is entirely their own perspective – and how you react is your own prerogative. You can respond with the same poison that they spew out, or you can look for the nugget of truth in their comment. If there’s no truth in it, then it’s not about you at all; if there’s some truth, then maybe look deeper within to see what you uncover.
#2. Anxiety-less separation
No matter who that person is – spouse, friend or colleague – if their influence feels negative, a bit of separation is good for both of you. Even though each of us feel like we’re our own separate entities, the energy around our entities is very fluid – when we’re too close to a person’s energy, we absorb some of it. On the flip side, the same is true for positive energy – so you might want to spend more time with people and projects that make you smile, learn or grow. This way, you get to learn and align with your purpose, rather than become a pawn in someone else’s.
#3 Go deeper
This is a trick I use a lot – I find that I can easily get past the negative / gossipy veneer when I ask people about their inner life, their soul’s longings. Obviously, use the words that seem right for the context, but when you detach from their topics, and redirect the conversations to go deeper, you suddenly see a different side of them that you might not have known existed.
#4 Be the change
But of course, this is my favorite – you’ve seen it many times from me. You really can’t change or control anyone but yourself. What works in the long run is to set an example. Create a world around you that you want to live in – create the excitement, positivity and change that you seek. Slowly but surely, the people around you will change when they’re influenced by your energy!
#5 Drop, Disengage, Detach
This goes back to Vairagya – which literally means becoming transparent – becoming free of distortion. The more transparent you become, the clearer the colors of your being. Let go of anything that feels dark, murky or negative, yes, even if it’s friends or family, if it’s necessary for your spiritual goals. But it doesn’t have to be dramatic – Vairagya is more an attitude than an actual disconnect. Practice it in your everyday conversations and you’re becoming a yogi on the go.
Did any of these 5 ways appeal to you in dealing with your own everyday world? If so, leave a comment to let me know. And if someone else you know needs this too, please share!
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