At some point in our lives, we’ve all met someone whose vibe was negative, sometimes toxic or who just complained a lot. Maybe we were that person three years ago, or in certain circumstances in our lives when our expectations were far from reality.
The truth is there are many people going through tough times in their lives which can cause them to be extremely unhappy or frustrated. But while some vent privately or not at all, others express their negativity, frustration and dissatisfaction constantly and without holding back.
It’s not our right to judge them
Hearing from the outside they may sound bitter and ungrateful, but it is never our job to judge them. While they may annoy us momentarily, everyone has a reason why they act like they do. And while we know that venting doesn’t change anything, that it is not productive, maybe it’s the easiest way for them to deal with their feelings.
When I started writing this article, I came from a judgemental place towards people who I considered extremely negative and toxic. Today, I try to understand because I know that everyone is going through shit and I’ve been through shit myself.
I’m a positive person and generally optimistic, because life has been kind to me, or at least that’s how I read it. But I understand why the person next to me may see life through a negative lens. Maybe they began noticing negative patterns in their path, maybe they’ve lost too many times, maybe their dreams were crashed or their loved ones were unkind and hurt them, maybe they feel misunderstood. But…
Neither it is our duty to put up with them
I can’t cope with the victim mentality. As long as you feel like a victim, you will remain a victim. It annoys me when I see that someone is fault-finding, blaming, and certain about what should be done about my issues but rarely focus on practical solutions to their own problems.
I’ve had bad experiences with chronic complainers because I found them particularly energy draining, finding myself stuck between ignoring them, or counter argument. A bitter attitude pushes positive people away, and trust me, they do need positive people in their lives.
If I try to be understanding, the least the other person can do is try to be understanding as well. Why is the responsibility to be wise and understanding solely on me?
What helped me deal with negative people
Bitterness, or resentment, is a complex, multilayered emotion that has been described by psychologists as a mixture of disappointment, disgust, anger, and fear. Some even consider it a mood or a secondary emotion that can be provoked in the face of insult or injury.
Inherent to bitterness is a perception of unfairness, and a generalized defense against unfair or unfavorable situations.
It’s clear to me that people who are bitter have an underlying sense of disappointment, disgust, anger or fear, which are pretty hard emotions to deal with, depending on what situation they apply to. I don’t know if I had someone else’s life, if I would be as positive as I am. That’s why I don’t judge them anymore. If their negativity it upsets me, I may back away to protect myself and my energy, but I try not to judge.
If, however, they come and ask for my advice, I humbly cite one of the wisest man I ever read:
“Practice non-action.— Lao Tzu
Work without doing.
Magnify the small;
increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.”