Yoga is so much more than what happens on the mat. A beautiful things starts happening when you begin to fully immerse yourself in a yoga practice and yogic lifestyle. Studying the history of yoga and the philosophies that go with it encourages a more kind and accepting attitude of the world around you. In our modern world this is an invaluable gift that makes it easier to deal with difficult situations and people.
One of the easiest ways to kill your yoga buzz is by leaving the oasis of the studio and feeling bombarded by the negativity of people around you. But, if we continue our practice throughout our daily lives, we can find ways to keep that negativity from affecting us.
Here are three yogic ways to deal with negative people:
1. Speak Your Truth
In traditional yoga philosophy, there are five tenets for the ways that we should treat others. One is being truthful.
When people are irritating or overwhelmingly negative, many of us find it difficult to come out and tell them. There is a difference between being confrontational and being constructive. Being able to communicate with someone in a loving and non-aggressive way is a skill, but is something that can be beneficial for everyone involved.
If there is someone who is radiating negativity in your life, try and find a way to have a conversation with them about it. There is likely something going in their life that is causing their attitude, and they might even be grateful for someone taking an interest. Explain to them the way that their attitude is affecting you and others without presenting this as a personal attack. There is always a risk that they will take offense, but by saying nothing, nothing will change.
2. Lead by Example
People who practice yoga know the magic it creates in our lives. If yoga has allowed you to have a more positive outlook on life, share that with the negative people in your life. Explain to them how you've been able to see the good in things and how this has made all things in life more enjoyable.
People who see life with a glass-half-empty outlook may not have a positive outlet in their life that helps to put things in perspective. Offer to take them to yoga with you, suggest a book that promotes positivity, or show them a breathing exercise that helps you to relax and shift a negative mood.
By giving them tools to change rather than isolating or attacking them, you are helping them to change on their own.
3. Create Space
Someone who is extremely negative has probably been that way for a long time. A negative mindset is a pattern and a habit that can be very difficult for people to break. It may be too much to expect these people to change. If this is the case, the best course of action could simply be to distance yourself from that person.
Recognizing when something or someone no longer serves you is an important part of yoga. We intuitively know when something isn't right for us, even if that something is a relationship. This doesn't mean that we need to cut them out completely, but maybe find a way to minimize your interactions, or keep those interactions to activities that you know will be enjoyable for the both of you.
Of course this may not be possible if the negative person is a co-worker or someone you need to collaborate with. In this case, it may be possible to change the way you interact with this person to create space. Can you email rather than meet face to face? Can you involve other team members to balance the energy?
Creating space can be both a physical and mental way to distance yourself from negative energy.
Being around negative people is toxic and can negatively affect us. As yogis, we can often find ourselves living in a bubble of positive, like-minded people, which makes it a little more difficult to have patience for people who are the opposite. It is one of the many challenges in trying to live a yogic lifestyle in the modern world, but it is also a wonderful reminder for us to go back to the lessons we learn through yoga.
Not letting that negativity affect us is not easy, and encouraging negative people to change is even more so. Approaching both with kindness, non-judgement, and our own positivity can make things a bit easier.
How do you deal with negative people in your life? Share with us below!