So many of us, myself included, especially when we’ve done a fair amount of work on ourselves, can struggle when our loved ones can’t always meet us where we are, especially when they are centered on “reality” and practicality, many times with a negative-minded focus.
For me, I noticed this the other day with a new friend. We spent some time together, and while this person is very good-hearted, there was a fair amount of unintentional negativity on our visit.
Remembering myself before I had done the work, I could absolutely relate AND I noticed that, where I was on my journey, it wasn’t good for me.
(With this, I absolutely understand that most of our modeling in our life has been conditioned to relate to others through negativity and hard times. Until we start to have awareness around it and how it makes us feel, and along with this, the desire to change it, most of us don’t have any other tools to navigate through or shift this. Also, sometimes we just need a friend to be able to share our challenges with, so this is not about avoiding these all together. Instead, though, it is about setting boundaries and recognizing when something is making you feel bad or you are abandoning yourself to stay in the conversation or in relationship with another.)
With my friend the other day, in part, this is what happened. This was mainly because I wasn’t fully aware of it until I got home that night, and into the next day, with a side of not wanting to ruin the day or create waves.
Most significantly, I needed to have exercised stronger boundaries and protected myself and my energy more than I did. Really, I needed to be more in my power, as in our relationships, we can’t control (or change) another. We can only control our response to them, so these types of interactions can be a great practice in holding our sense of self.
For me, though, too, given that this is a new friendship, it also helped me to recognize the investment in time I wanted to make in this new friendship moving forward, as while what I’m going to share (and what I share above) are great practices, at the end of the day, it just didn’t feel that great.
Today, though, I wanted to share this with you, as I know so many of us can struggle with this in our closest relationships, especially when we’ve grown and the other person has stayed the same.
So, what do we do when this is the case?
1. Set strong boundaries.
This can look like limiting your time with them, and it can look like limiting the amount of time you allow them to go down the “rabbit hole,” so-to-speak. Part of this is noticing when it’s getting to be too much for you, and then either gently moving the conversation in a different direction, or if you’re finding that’s not working, gently letting them know you’ll need to change the conversation.
Now, of course, if this doesn’t work or you feel it’s necessary, you may need to set a stronger boundary, by simply saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I can no longer talk about this topic tonight. If we can’t change the subject, I will need to go and we can talk another time.” (If you can, share your inner world as you do, which could look something like, “This is really hard for me to hear, not only because I love you and want to see you happy, but this is also something I’m working on changing in my own life. With this, I need you to know that I won’t always be able to talk with you about this for hours on end, but I will support you the best that I can.”)
Important to note: If you say this and set boundaries, you are not a bad person. You are a person who’s taking care of yourself, your energy and putting yourself first. There is nothing wrong with this, and just because someone is related to you or close to you, it doesn’t mean you have to let them walk all over you and that you have to feel bad to be in relationship with them.
2. Protect your energy.
In addition to setting (stronger) boundaries, before you even get on the phone with them (or right when you answer), it’s important to put some practices in place to protect your energy.
Here’s a couple I like:
a. Set the intention you’re not going to take on their energy and vice versa by simply saying out loud, “What’s mine is mine. What’s not is not.”
b. Put yourself in a “listening bubble,” setting the intention you’re not going to take on their energy or “stuff.” (Feel free to put them in their own bubble as well. This will create a protective energetic layer for both of you.)
Then, once you’re done with the conversation, if this resonates for you, simply ask for all cords to be pulled out from both parties. (I always ask for Archangel Michael’s help with this, but either way, trust that it’s working.)
3. Focus on their positive traits.
The last tool I’m going to give you today to help with this is to focus on the parts of them that you love and perceive to be positive or the opposite of what’s bothering you to begin with. This can be around what you’re specifically noticing (For instance, if your partner is always worrying about money, you can find the ways in which he/she is abundant and/or generous.), or in general, the things that you love about this person or the things you love about the relationship. We get more of what we focus on, so this pivot is super important.
A few other things before I close:
- If you’re desiring to practice radical responsibility and struggle with negative people in your life, ask yourself what benefits you get from these types of relationships. Do you feel seen or valued when someone comes to you for help? Alternatively, do you feel superior being where you are, compared to where they are? It’s important to note this and what these interactions are here to teach you, and then, to start to shift these beliefs, if they are no longer desirable or working for you.
- Also, can you have compassion for where your loved one is on their journey? After all, just like me, I imagine at some point, you were in a similar thought process to them, just doing the best you could in that moment, likely not realizing the impact your thoughts and energy were having on your reality and others.
- Also, as I touched on above, again, this is not about avoiding negativity or challenges or only having one-dimensional (positive) conversations at all times. So much of the time, challenges and disagreements can add to our relationships and bring us closer to one another, if both parties are open to resolving the issue in a healthy way. So, it’s important to look at this, and understand, while it doesn’t always make you feel good, negativity isn’t something you can catch like a cold. That being said, if you’re avoidant around hard or negative things or conversations, and as part of this, scared to talk about any challenges with another, whether theirs or yours, I highly recommend looking at this, as I guarantee you are avoiding this in your own life then, too, robbing yourself of the opportunity to have a much more richer and deeper life by facing these challenges.
Most importantly, let’s create and live in a world where we lift each other up when we’re down, and recognize, instead of making ourselves right as we experience another’s “wrong,” that we’re all in this together and we genuinely need each other as we navigate through this challenging world.
To “Ac-cent-Tchu-ate-ing The Positive” and always turning the negative into something positive!