Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois                       

What a great day to be together, Faith.

Faith

It’s summer. It’s always great in the summer.

Lois                         

And we got to talk a lot about family, family, family last week. And if you did miss out this podcast, please check it out after you listen to today’s because there’s so much to consider when it comes to family in terms of how we relate to each other, function with each other and love each other through it all.

Faith                    

You can’t live without them, right? But at the end of the day, at the end of the day, no.

Lois                        

So please share this podcast after you’re done and let us know what’s on your mind these days, these long days of summer, especially if something we share resonates with you and you’d like to hear a little more explanation. And if you want to be the first in line with the latest information, we’ve got sign up for our weekly newsletter. It’s on our website, www.moretolifewithfaithandlois.com. So our podcasts are all over the place. We sometimes give you some information, sometimes they are painful and other times they’re lighthearted. And today we’re going to explore a transition that can weigh very heavily on your personal life and in your work. It’s episode 82. Transition: The Impact of Negativity.

Faith                     

Yes, and we’re the, one of the reasons we wanted to bring this topic up is because the impact of negativity is really strong. It really can hit you sideways because it’s unexpected. Sometimes you can come in with a really positive attitude and excited to share something and there’s just cold water put on you because of the negativity of, oh, that won’t work, or why are you thinking that way? And so we just thought it would be good to address how negativity can really impact, influence and some of those secondary conditions that rise up within us when we’ve been hit by negativity.

Lois                       

Oh, I mean, just even saying it, it hits you, doesn’t it? It just doesn’t feel good. In fact, negativity is defined as the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something. I mean just think of this big heavy cloak coming around you and, and the synonyms I’m not going to get to, because you can just feel the thickness in the air. When you talk about negativity, some people have described negativity as velcro because if it comes to you, it literally attaches and for you to detach from that takes work and there’s no doubt about that. Faith, what do you do when negative people, negative thoughts, negativity come around you.

Faith                     

What’s taking years of working on how to deal with it in a better way. But now when there’s negativity around me, I don’t own it. I don’t take it because it’s not mine. If I didn’t bring a negative thought into the situation, but another person did, it’s not mine. So why should I take it? My responsibility is how can I change negativity into something positive, something good, and to try to hear the person when they’re presenting something really negative, but Oh, before the velcro thing, perfect image, but like anything that anybody would say that was negative, it used to attach to me and I kind of collected it and I walked around with a lot of negative words that people had put onto me. And that’s not how you want to live your life because it’s not yours that came from someone else. But the key thing is that if I do have a negative thought or a negative feeling and I walk into a situation, I really own it and then make a point of not sharing it. I try to just hold it inside and say, this is for me to process at some point when I have the time and what can I do to offer something good in its place?

Lois                       

And your words are so powerful because negativity is contagious. Yes, it is. Our emotions are contagious and while our happy emotions are contagious, that only lasts a little bit. It’s like Teflon. It just goes up and then it goes down. But when you have negativity, you can literally, as you said so many times, you can change up the atmosphere in the room and you know when people are walking in with this. And I want to make sure that I’m not walking in with it because there are times where we can get low and Faith just mentioned something really good. If there’s a way, and we’re going to talk about this, to bring it inside and process without spewing it on people who are around you because they will catch it. They will catch your contagion, which is that emotion of negativity, which can be so hard. And you know sometimes it can well up on you when you don’t expect it. Like if somebody cuts in front of you while you’re driving and suddenly this positive thing you were doing, so you’re just driving along. Nobody even said anything bad, but they cut you off and you get so angry and you can just feel it. Now, if you have a child in the car, they’re going to feel that – if you have somebody sitting next to you, they’re going to feel that. It’s not always somebody who comes in and just has a sour attitude. It’s sometimes things that happen to you that take your current situation and your presence of mind and twist it. So we want to talk about that a little bit because what I’ve noticed so much is if I don’t keep that in check, I start spreading that to people. And if somebody has had a bad day and I add this, all it does is it makes their bad day worse because they empathize with me by the way. They’re like, yeah, that guy was so bad they come up. But then it’s all negative stuff they’re cheering me on with rather than, so Lois, would you consider not driving in the fast lane when somebody wants to go much faster than you? I don’t know. So just hypothetically, there are ways that maybe I could have dissipated some of that – and some you absolutely can. But we want to tap into this contagiousness of negativity today because you know, you can watch the mood of people transfer in a very short period of time.

Faith                   

What we fail to remember is that we also have the capability of changing that atmosphere. Yes, by how we respond. And we can bring a positive influence and change the atmosphere of negativity. But we have to be intentional about it. And that is having a different thought and a different way of reacting into the situation that you might find yourself in. Some of the things we’re gonna talk about here is a way to be alert to a way to be awake to what can I do instead?

Lois                       

So in the next few minutes, that’s exactly what we want to tackle, how to deal with your own negativity and then also deal with negativity in those who are around you. Some people you know and some people you don’t. And there are a lot of great tools that we were able to find from this website called www.mindfulambition.net so thank you. If you want to check them out. So one of the ways to deal with your own negativity is exactly what Faith just said. Be aware of your own mental state. Boy, we walk around in a fog a lot Faith.

Faith                    

We do, we get distracted, we get busy, and we minimize those quick interactions where there might be something negative and, and we can blow it off or we take it on. But the point is that if we can be more aware of what am I encountering, then you can come back with a counter to it. But you can’t. If you’re in a fog, you’re absolutely right. You can’t do it because you can’t see it.

Lois                         

No. And if you can just get yourself to slow down enough to say, what prompted this? Yes, my anger, what’s happening right here? That also will change up just because you’ve then added some words to your brain that aren’t just, I’m so pissed off at somebody. So you have another way to look at this. Even if you’re willing to say to yourself, I’m really angry about this right now. That also changes it because then suddenly you owned that. By the way, you have the anger versus somebody else and that’s really, really powerful.

Faith                    

One of the things we tend to do is with the negativity as you mentioned before, is we tend to absorb it and then it generates or pushes a button in our own negative things. If something that we are still maybe working on or does not feel resolved yet in our lives and then all you’ve done is just added kind of kerosene to the fire and there’s more negativity that begins to rise. That’s where gossip jumps in as you said. We start to really feed off of it with each other. That’s a good thing. If you catch that happening, let that be an alarm. Go off like, Whoa, I need to stop this timeout. I’m getting hooked and get out of it as quickly as you possibly can. Take a break, go do something, but get away from it, reset your thinking and say, this is not where I want to go. I want to go back into that room and change the atmosphere.

Lois                        

You know you’ve experienced these emotions that are negative, but it doesn’t mean that you are negatives, right? If you are able to name it and kind of work through that, there is a way like Faith just said to set it down and to move on because then you don’t have to be the negative person. You’re experiencing a negative emotion, which by the way, we will. In fact you might in the next few minutes just hearing some of this might bring something up for you and remember it’s a negative emotion that you can actually deal with. You aren’t negative.

Faith                     

You aren’t, and that’s when we personalize it that we begin to take that spiral down ourselves. Well, that’s not the road we want to go down. There’s so much more to life to enjoy, to see, to take in that you want to bring the goodness of life and the beauty of life into every situation.

Lois                       

You know as you’re dealing with your own negativity. Another thing to remember, which is something that we bring up in so many of our podcasts is that this is temporary. You’ve gotten upset about something. Something has happened. This is not how it’s going to be forever. If you choose that, by the way. Or you can decide to sit underneath the cloud, be there for awhile, but if you observe what’s going on, if you can see what’s happening, you can also let it move on. You can actually put it on a train somewhere, put it in a cloud somewhere, whatever. You can actually, if you will observe that these are negative emotions, you can also observe them leave you.

Faith                     

That’s really good. And you know, one thing that just struck me too is that sometimes we hold onto the negative feelings and reactions that we have because we’re too afraid to ask for what we really want or what we really need. And by just voicing it, we can actually get a breakthrough. But we’re afraid to do that. So we’d rather stay in a negative cesspool of junk. And you got to stop for a moment ago. Like why would I want to do that? Why would I want to stay in negativity when if I were clear and more defined in what is I’m really needing or wanting, I could make a difference.

Lois                       

That’s a huge thing to listen to folks because that is what happens. Sometimes somebody suggest something, we don’t want to do it. We don’t say what we really want to do. So then we’re angry at the person for suggesting which they’re allowed to do. But we’re angry because it’s not what we wanted to do. So then we begin, we get negative and all we had to do is what Faith just suggested. Well how about this?

Faith                   

That’s right. That’s right. So much conflict comes out of negativity and it never needs to happen.

Lois                       

Wow. So we are on episode 82. Transition: the Impact of Negativity. And now we’d like to kind of focus on how to deal with negativity in others because not only do we bring negativity in the room, but sometimes we’re faced with negativity that’s in the room when we get there.

Faith                    

And like I said earlier, the first thing is do not take it personally.

Lois                      

That’s so hard Faith. That is so hard. I mean,

Faith                   

But it’s not personal. It came from them. There’s something going on in the other person in that moment. They’ve either had a bad day, they had a fight with their spouse, they just lost their job. We have no idea what their story is in the moment, but they’re in a negative place and they’ve walked into the room and they’ve dumped it. So when they dumped something and they make you kind of the focus of that dumping, then they’re trying to say your the problem and you’re not, you know, you, maybe there’s something you need to correct or change, but the whole negative piece that it’s wrapped in, that’s not the issue. They haven’t gotten to the issue of, of what really is the problem. They’re just dumping and pouring out all their – they’re emoting on you is what they’re doing and you don’t need to take that. That’s not yours.

Lois                      

It’s so interesting because most of the time when someone’s doing this, their negative actions 90% of the time have really nothing to do with you. You just happened to be there at that moment. And the mistake we often make is that we receive it and we get upset and we join them in the negativity. And then we go right down that funnel, which we don’t have to do because it doesn’t have to do with us. But it’s so hard. I remember a long time ago, somebody coaching me saying, you know, Lois, when someone comes up with negative words, you actually can, as an adult, say, stop. Not even get mad, but just because it’s not about you. You can say stop. And so she said, let’s try this. And she started to say some things to me that were very negative and I just was listening. And she said, no, no, you’re supposed to say stop. And I said, well, I want to hear what you have to say. I mean, sometimes we forget that we, we really don’t. We’re adults. We don’t have to listen to this kind of negativity. So I’ve gotten a lot better, by the way, I do tell people to stop, and I have gotten to this point, but it took just like you’re saying, years of like practice that saying stop is not a bad word.

Faith                   

Great word. So yes, it’s redirecting it to, I really want to hear you, but when you’re negative like this, I don’t think this is what you really want to say. What is it that you really want to tell me? And if you let them go on and on and on, they’ll never get to what it is I really want to say.

Lois                        

And then you’ll feel worse because they really will dump you. So be careful about that. If you give people enough space, if that’s what you think you’re doing. And that’s what I used to believe was the right thing to do. I would end up far angry at that person because they said more than they ever intended to say cause I didn’t stop them.

Faith                    

And another thing is to stay patient. You know, do your best to kind of breathe, catch your breath and take in what is happening and avoid reacting. A lot of times what I will do is I’ll just stop and I’ll just, I’ll be listening. But inside I’m doing a lot of self talk and I’ll be saying, this isn’t about you. This isn’t personal. Something that’s going on with them. Take a deep breath. I wonder, you know, what are the possibilities, what are the ways that you might respond, not react. And then that is my goal is to find a way to interact with them because something’s going on in that other person in that moment.

Lois                      

And this goes for if you get a text or an email that could be on a very negative tone. You know, I used to be this person that, well sometimes I am, but I try not to be, were responding way too quickly and if I will take a moment, breathing like you just suggested and some space, it’s so interesting what will happen if you get a negative email or a negative text and you wait an hour or two to respond because by then you really are responding and you’re not reacting. So if you can take that time, if you have the moments, if you have that ability, see what comes up with that space – or don’t call somebody back. If somebody leaves you a voicemail, you can hear our angry there. Just wait because you know that they’ll come down even if it’s for a few minutes before you respond. Think about giving some space to all of this where the negative energy is someplace else to go instead of right on top of you.

Faith                    

That’s so good and it’s perfect to just say a good question as why would I need to respond so quickly and oftentimes we just want to get the energy off. I don’t want to carry this. This is too much. I want to get it done with and we want to get it done and move on and some things, especially when we’re talking about a relationship or connection with a person, you don’t want to move on too quickly.

Lois                      

That’s so good. You know if you’re in a grocery store line or you’re pumping gas or something happens where you’re outside and there is something that happens very negatively. I have really looked at my own demeanor to see how I’m responding. Cause sometimes you can’t say something back and sometimes it’s not appropriate to say something back. If you can smile at that person now might really get them angry in the moment, but it’s disarming enough that a smile positioned at the right time can really do a lot to relieve some of the stress of someone who’s really angry or upset about something.

Faith                 

It sure can. And the other thing that we’re unaware of a lot of times is how our face looks. We don’t even know how we look sometimes when we’re really intense and it’s oftentimes people can misread our facial expressions and that’s how we know whether it’s safe to relate to somebody or not. We look at someone’s face and if we’re in deep thought or something, it’s important to know what does my face look like when I’m in deep thought or what does my face look like when it’s disengaged? And sometimes just looking in the mirror sometimes to become more familiar with what we just never give a second thought to makes a huge difference in knowing, you know what, I need to smile more. I need to put my cheek up and I need to put my eyes up and I need to be looking like I’m really engaging with you. Otherwise a person doesn’t know how to read us.

Lois                       

I have actually had this happen from people who are total strangers and I have been deep in thought and apparently I can look very angry when I’m deep in thought walking down the street. And maybe I was puzzled about something and a gentleman walked the other way and he said, you know, his smile could change all that. And at first I was a little peeved, but at the second thought I realized whatever I was doing gave off an aura of I’m not happy with something. And he was right. And it made me laugh at the end. You know, once I passed him, I had not really observed what I looked like when I was deep in thought. And clearly it was not pleasant.

Faith                

Right, right. And so we can be falsely accused of being negative when we’re not at all. So it’s another little clue. Another little thing about being more aware about who we are, how we approach, how we look and how we engage. But you’re absolutely right. A smile goes a long way.

Lois                        

So if you’re looking to disarm somebody who’s really upset, even with you, think about smiling and not, don’t laugh at them. Okay, so we’re not done. We’re not encouraging you to antagonize – no mockery. We know that things are going to bring us down and negativity will come into your life. It’s going to happen. You’re going to find somebody who is upset about things, but as we were talking about earlier, if there’s a way for you to not take this personally, that’s the first step to being able to then breathe, step away from it, and maybe not react, but respond in time.

Faith                  

And be intentional. Be Intentional about wanting to change the atmosphere of negativity into an atmosphere where there’s positive loving, kind influence.

Lois                       

It’s about waking up.

Faith                

Yes, it is. Releasing your own negative thoughts or those of others isn’t easy. But once you start down this road, you’ll find it easier to let go of more.

Lois                     

So choose one at a time. Maybe if there’s something you’re really negative about and when you’ve released the emotion around one area, maybe you’ll be ready to face another one.

Faith                    

We’d love it if you’d share this podcast with anyone you know who’s overwhelmed with negativity.

Lois                       

And join us next week for Transition, the Impact of Suffering.

Faith                  

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois                       

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith                  

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois                       

We’ll be back next week.