Negative People: How to Protect Yourself From Energy Vampires
by Kerri Randall
Negative people are all around. Sometimes those of us who are normally optimistic can feel cornered, overpowered, and overwhelmed by negative people. It's important to protect yourself so you don't become "one of them!"
I'm sure you've felt this before: you can be in a room, either by yourself or with a group, and the very moment a Debbie Downer walks in, the atmosphere in the room instantly changes. The atmosphere gets heavy and your mood drops with it.
These people are called energy vampires. They literally suck the energy from you the way Dracula sucks your blood. There's not a visible physical action involved when an energy vampire takes your life force, yet you can feel it happening in the air.
Chalene Johnson validated this for me this past weekend at Camp Do More 2011 (you can read about it here). When you're around so many negative people for so long, no matter how "sparkly," positive, or happy you normally are, it's easy for your spirit to break over time. When you're outnumbered, it's easier to succumb to the negativity than continue to fight it.
In the process, you lose yourself.
So what can you do to protect yourself? I don't propose to be a master, but I am an expert optimist! Here are a few tips to help you fight the energy vampires and stay true to who you are:
- Don't take them personally. In most cases, negative people are acting on a deep-seated pain or fear that they've been repressing. We all know repression doesn't work–when you try to hide from your past rather than make peace with it, it will come up to bite you later. When an energy vampire tries to take your life force, this is that pain or fear slowly leaking out and trying to be seen. It wants to be dealt with. And it has nothing to do with you.
- Believe in yourself. Whatever these people say to you, about you, or around you is not really a reflection of you. Bullies feel better about themselves by tearing other people down, and the truth doesn't even have to enter into the equation. So you need to believe with all your heart that you ARE a good, happy, positive person.
- Don't willingly give them your power. No matter how obnoxious negative people are, do your best not to pay attention to them. Paying attention is the first step in allowing them to drain your energy. Ignore them or do your best not to respond. Most importantly, don't offer sympathy. You can smile and/or nod, but don't jump in and share a sob story or complaint of your own. You'll only validate and encourage them.
- Remember that they probably aren't even aware of what they're doing. Most energy vampires are not energy vampires by conscious choice. They just choose to react negatively to the events that happen in their lives. Then they want validation. They want to feel better, but when you're that far down, sometimes it's easier to bring other people down with you than fight the negativity. Misery loves company.
- Choose to spend most of your time with positive people. In the same way that a guy can be too nervous to approach a pretty girl who's in a group of her friends, individual negative people have a hard time breaking the spirit of an entire group of positive people. There's power in numbers, my friend.
- If you find yourself alone with a negative person or even overpowered by a group, do your best to leave. Make it known that you're busy and don't have a lot of time to talk. If that's not possible, refer to the first two tips until you can get away: don't take them personally, and believe in yourself. It's harder when you seem to be the only positive person, but with enough practice, you can prevent the energy vampires from winning!
Obviously, we're not all happy and positive all day, everyday. Bad things happen. But while you may not be in control of WHAT happens to you, you are in control of HOW you choose to react. Sometimes you need a few minutes or an hour or even a couple weeks to mourn in certain situations, and no one can or should blame you when you need that time.
But you have the choice of when to be optimistic again, and the sooner you can get there, the easier it is to remain the happy, positive person that you are. You choose whether or not to relinquish your energy and power to someone else–and it's never a good idea. The only energy you want to share is positive energy. Just like love, you don't lose anything by sharing positivity.
Stay strong, friends. There are good people left in the world, and if you're reading this, I know you're one of them. We can change the world, but we need to start by remaining true to ourselves and committing to a life of positivity.
How do you protect yourself from negative people? Share your tips here or on my Facebook wall!