The Green Sheet Online Edition
March 25, 2013 • Issue 13:03:02
How are other people influencing you?
|| We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.|
- Stephen King
People tend to be on guard around surly personalities, but it isn't only the grouches of the world who can turn a day from stellar to lackluster. Think about the ordinary folks you encounter day to day, those you exchange small talk with - your local barista or dry cleaner for example - or those you probably have more lengthy conversations with - such as your family, professional colleagues and your merchant customers.
Have you assessed how these interactions are affecting you?
It's all too easy to be so comfortable with the folks you see frequently that you don't notice whether they are influencing your expectations and performance, that is, unless they do something that stirs your emotions and thus stands out in a negative or positive way.
So, how do you determine the effects small, daily interactions might be having on your outlook? One way is to pause briefly after conversations throughout the day and evaluate their content. If an affable neighbor shared a bit of good news, told an amusing anecdote or gave you a sincere compliment, this is likely beneficial to your overall outlook.
If, however, you observe that your mild-mannered neighbor pointed out flaws in a particular person or situation, complained about something, or ridiculed another person's actions, take note. The individual may just be having a bad day, but he or she could also be habitually pessimistic or overly critical. Keep paying attention, and you'll soon see which is the case.
Just realizing that someone in your circle is a source of subtle negativity can lessen the effect that person has on you. It keeps their emotional state from slipping into your consciousness without your being aware of it.
And if the person isn't particularly close to you, you probably don't need to address it directly. Just being encouraging in small ways is enough to empower you and possibly even brighten the person's day, too.
If the person adding negativity to your life is close to you, you will need to devise ways to protect yourself. Endeavor to bring more positive people and experiences into your sphere to counter the influence of the low-spirited person.
Seek out people who endorse your passions and goals and will cheer for you. And do everything you can to bolster your own confidence and skills.
Helping the downcast person in your close circle to become more positive is also an option, but that would most likely be a long-term project that could necessitate professional help. Only you can decide if that is something you want to take on.
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