How do I stay in my positivity when others are so negative and draining? I begin my day in the peace of my sadhana, but then I become impacted by the negativity of others who I see in my day.
This question pops up a lot. As we start on this path of introspection and begin to realize our thoughts influence our moods and therefore work our best to correct our own limiting, negative beliefs, we also start noticing those tendencies in others.
When this happens, we need to come back to the Vedic attitude of, “what I am finding disturbing in other’s reflects my own inner condition”. Perhaps the negativity that is arising in them reflects the negativity you are working so hard to pacify within yourself. In this case we should use these small annoyances as a motivation for us to keep doing the work.
Building our spiritual immunity is just that- doing the work, until one day, these things will no longer bother you. It takes courage and self-responsibility (to face your own stuff), acceptance (to make peace with it) and time (to overcome it).
So you can we build our spiritual immunity:
- Daily Sadhana: Your self-care practices that draw your awareness and energies WITHIN. This is where we learn to truly introspect, sit with the fluctuations of the mind, realize that we can cultivate calm, even amongst all these wavering thoughts- and this translates into our everyday life. If you anchor yourself for a few minutes of peace everyday, you will have this as a place to come back to, when the waters of life get turbulent.
- Work on Vairagya (detachment): The more you walk on the path of yoga and cultivate greater awareness, the more you will notice negativity in the world. Yoga is a path of self-empowerment. As you become more empowered, and have more control over your moods, emotions and impulsivity and become more balanced and peaceful. You’ve taken responsibility and gained some control over your own inner state. Now other’s negativity is being heightened in you. It’s not your responsibility to “up” your positivity game. It’s not your responsibility either, to tell everyone how they should be, act or live their lives. We are the only ones responsible for our peace of mind. So in this case we need to work on detaching from expecting everyone should be the way we want them to. This is obvious to understand, yet much harder to fully accept. Other’s will be who they are. In the meantime, do what you can to protect yourself from their influence. Perhaps it’s changing the subject, leaving the room, or respectfully having a conversation with them if you feel it is necessary (*again without expectation of them changing their ways). Remember this is an individual journey, however you shining in your unshakable peace and positivity can really have an effect on uplifting others!
- Karuna- Compassion: Instead of meeting those negative people with annoyance, meet them with compassion. Perhaps they haven’t awakened to realizing that they can CHOOSE positivity, then can influence their own reality by looking at the bright side of life. Perhaps this is a coping mechanism for them to get validation or attention. We don’t know their whole story. May we hold these individuals with compassion, because they are ignorant of their own behaviour. They don’t know yet how great they could have it. May we send them silent blessings for them to find what you have, or are working hard to have! Also extend this compassion your way so you don’t beat yourself up for feeling annoyed/disturbed by others, we are all works in progress!
- Fall, but get back up: If you get shaken out of your place of peace by these people, employ your tools to bring you back there. Affirmations, calming breaths, mantra, your accountability buddy, venting, journaling or whatever else you need to come back to the moment.
I hope this helps you find some clarity when working through negativity in others, and finding your role in working through it! Eventually you will come to a place where the things that used to bother you, don’t anymore. These are little validations along the path that we are making progress. Remember to be gentle with yourself and keep doing the work!