Psychologist Professor Petruska Clarkson helps us spot the difference between constructive criticism and a hidden agenda to help you say no to negativity.
When you’re making progress in life, there will always be those who are negative about your situation. They’ll label you as crazy, impulsive or in a crisis. Accept that you can’t please everyone and rather focus on surrounding yourself with people who support your adventure.
So, remain confident as you continue on your path and meet more people who uplift you.
Glass half empty
Remember, when you encounter those who are always pointing out drawbacks in other people’s projects, their opinions will not affect your plans. They are most likely going through their own issues and by pointing out the faults of others they’re made to feel better about their situation.
Don’t waste time and energy listening to them, but rather steer conversation away from you and direct it at them. If one of their comments does strike a chord with you, think about how you can amend things to keep moving forward.
Held to ransom
Often those in close relationships will be victims of emotional blackmail, where they are threatened and made to feel guilty about their progress. This type of negativity breeds resentment and guilt. It’s also not about your plans, but usually has something to do with how the person is feeling about your relationship.
Sometimes, positive feedback can be misconstrued when delivered in a clumsy way, so stay open to all feedback from those who are close to you, and learn to differentiate between what’s positive and negative.
5 ways to remain positive about your plan
1. Delay announcing your plans until they’re watertight
2. Asking those around you for practical help, ideas or contributions will soon sort the supportive people from the negative ones
3. Watch your language. If you describe what you’re doing as an adventure or an experiment, then success will be defined by the doing rather than the reaching of a predetermined outcome
4. Don’t lose sight of your best case scenario – where everything works out just the way you wanted
5. Bounce things off people you know don’t have a vested interest in dissuading you. Also seek advice from experts or those in similar situations, rather than from people who don’t understand or disapprove of what you’re doing