Purpose of this article: To help you understand why avoiding negative people does not work, and what you need to do instead in order to enjoy some inner peace.
Dropping negative people seems to be one of the most popular pieces of advice given out by spiritual teachers for the last 20 years.
Having witnessed numerous Facebook lives over the last 12 months telling people to delete friends that share a negative post on Facebook, to not talking to family members when they are struggling with a particular issue.
The advice goes something like.
- You don’t need negative people in your life to bring you down.
- You cannot be positive with negative people in your life.
- You should remove anybody in your social media that are not positive.
- You should create a little bubble around you that nobody can penetrate and affect your mood.
I don’t disagree with this advice entirely, and there is a time when you need to remove people from your life. However, there are at least 5 reasons that dropping ‘negative’ people does not improve your life.
Here are the 5 reasons dropping negative people does not work
Be realistic with who you are.
It is important to remember that nobody is positive 100% of the time. Yes, there are those amongst us that lean one way or the other. However, essentially there are many times in your life when you have been far from positive yourself. Perhaps I’m being a little presumptuous here, but isn’t the time when you are negative when you needed the positive people most?
It is not about them and us.
The spiritual journey should be including and not excluding along the way. Imagine if every positive person dropped everybody negative. Nobody would improve, nobody would mix with the ones that need it most. You would end up with two sides.
Them and us!
That is not what the spiritual journey is about.
So we have fewer enemies, fewer people to be against. I’m not saying you are against negative people if you try to cast them out of your life. I’m saying it becomes easy and for our self-preservation, we see them as something that is going to add a negative to our lives.
When you see them in the street, do you feel positive?
If your spiritual journey is working then over time you become less judgemental. Perhaps come across a homeless person, someone that is clearly down on their luck. You don’t immediately cast them out of your awareness because they are not in the same place as you are. You have empathy, you open your heart and have compassion for the position they are in. And sometimes if you are in a position to help, you do.
Are you left feeling great?
Sometimes they are the ones we love.
If you have children, grandchildren, or brothers and sisters you will know that they never stay positive all the time. Do you really want to cast aside your children? How would that make you feel? Granted, they may be a mix of positive and negative however it comes down to how much you are willing to accept for how much you’re willing to invest. If it is your child, you would find it harder to cast them out than you would an acquaintance from 10 years ago on the Internet.
I get that. However, it is just another example where this advice does not fit the bigger picture.
My family are not always positive, in fact, I have some family members that are outright negative. Let’s rephrase the word negative, they live in a state of fearing something is always going to go wrong.
Is that their fault? Well, maybe slightly but never entirely.
Negative people can be our gift
Imagine a life that you only ever had positive, loving, happy, easy-going and highly spirited people around you. They never cried, showed pain, or had a negative word to say about anybody. What bliss! Take a deep breath, place your hand on your heart. Bless this life.
Now, snap out of it and get real.
Life is full of situations that don’t go our way. Nature is not going to cancel the hierarchy of the animal kingdom. Nature is not going to cancel the plates shifting, causing earthquakes that result in human loss.
We need to have a muscle and the ability to deal with the situations when they arise. Without having these negative people around us were never going to build the muscle and the strength and the ability to deal with situations that we find ourselves in that are inevitable.
It’s almost like saying avoid water until you need to swim for your life. It’s best that you learn to swim before it gets to appoint you may not be able to yet you have no choice.
The exception to the rule
Sometimes we do need to drop the negative people, temporarily.
If you are going through a tough time, you are struggling yourself and you do not have the ability to be able to hold space while being around others that are struggling then you may need to avoid them temporarily.
This could be for a few months, or even a year or so.
It’s about us, not them.
It’s about changing this mindset of dropping negative people and our lives suddenly becoming positive and happy because of it.
Now, I’m not saying that we should gather around everybody that is struggling in our lives and bring them into our inner circle. On the contrary, I’m saying we need to build the muscle and be selective of whom we have around us. Then, when we are ready we can engage and help to lift the others that are struggling.
The ultimate aim of your spiritual journey should be more love, empathy, compassion, and understanding. And unless you’re willing to deliver to the ones that need it most, then why are you doing it at all?
Yes, to make ourselves feel better. I get that, and if you do as well congratulations you are more awake than most.
There is the return journey, and that is to go to where it is needed most.
It is easy to love those who are positive, giving, and loving. They are not the ones that need it.
Find the balance, between where it feels uncomfortable and you need to grow and the times that you need to surround yourself with positive and the more upbeat among us.
Everything about the spiritual journey is a balance. And simply dropping negative people is not an option.
If you subscribe to my weekly newsletter by clicking here, I will give you free access to my 3 Guided Meditations to Help You through Difficult Times and let you know when I post next week 5 Ways to Deal with Negative People so They Don’t Bring You down